Reading: 2 Timothy 1: 1-8
Paul and Timothy have a special bond. Paul calls him “my dear son” and Timothy sees Paul as a father figure. Paul has mentored Timothy and watched him grow in his faith. Timothy has been poured into by Paul, both in terms of the knowledge of the faith and in how to live out that faith. Again we read of tears. Paul recalls Timothy’s tears at their last parting and declares that he longs to see Timothy again. These tears are partly tears of sorrow but they also testify to the deep, deep connection that Paul and Timothy feel through Christ.
Paul encourages Timothy in these opening verses. He first reminds him of the “sincere faith” that he sees in Timothy, a faith not only taught but passed down to Timothy. He exhorts Timothy to “fan into flames the gift of God” which is present in and through the Holy Spirit. In this section Paul finishes by encouraging Timothy to live out a bold faith, empowered by love and self-discipline. The mentor is building up the pupil while he is physically distant.
But this is not a one-way street. Paul also receives from Timothy. Paul us writing Timothy at a time when he is in custody. It is a time of suffering for Paul. As he looks around Paul sees that he is all alone, that all have deserted him. Paul is a prisoner for Christ and he is reaching out to Timothy, his dear friend. In his suffering, Paul draws strength from the relationship he has with Timothy. He also knows that Timothy will pray often for him and will be with him in spirit.
In our walk of faith we will have mentors who help us grow in our faith and at times we too will pour into others. Our faith is a communal faith, one that is to be lived out together. It is both a joy to walk alongside a brother or sister growing in Christ as well as to walk alongside them in their times of pain and suffering. May the Lord bless each of us as we laugh and cry and grow together with our brothers and sisters in Christ.