Friday – October 27, 2017 – Know Those You Lead
2 Timothy 1:3-7 (NIV) I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. 4 Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
Acts 16:3 (NIV) Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.
As Timothy’s spiritual father, Paul took him into his heart. He constantly remembered him in his prayers. He didn’t just remember to pray, he remembered things about him as he prayed. He remembered his tears when they had parted, and was longing to be together with him again. He recalled the faithful household that he was raised in and not only what had been imparted to him by Paul, but what had been imparted to him by his grandmother and his mother. He knew his personality and what his struggles involved. He knew of his tendency to fight against fear. But Paul also knew his loyalty.
Paul’s relationship with Timothy went beyond prayer; it included exhortation. It went beyond reflecting on his past to seeing into his future. He knew what he would struggle to overcome to realize the future that God had for him. Timothy’s struggles were ones that are common to many people. His primary struggle was overcoming fear or timidity and embracing the explosive power that was available to him. Paul knew that Timothy would struggle with rejection by the Jews, because he had a Greek father and rejection by the Gentiles, because he had a Jewish mother. Only his love for Paul, his love for the lost (both Jews and Gentiles) and his love for God would motivate him to keep on spreading the gospel. But still there would be times when he might want to give up, to become weary in well doing. It would take self-discipline for him to overcome that.
These advantages were available to Timothy, so he is reminded to fan into flame the gift imparted to him that had become dormant. We all need to fan into flame what God has imparted to us as we face the challenges of life and ministry.
Paul knew of Timothy’s tendency to be timid, but he also knew of his loyalty, of his willingness to pay whatever price was necessary to spread the gospel. Paul had led the fight against the Judaizers who insisted that circumcision was necessary for salvation. That is well documented in his book to the Galatians, but Paul understood the need to make critical distinctions and he made one that cost Timothy. He circumcised him because he was taking him on a missionary journey and did not want to give the Jews he was going to be preaching to any reason to reject the gospel. Timothy loved the lost, disciplined himself and paid a price. That kind of loyalty is rare in today’s church. People break off godly relationships for weaker reasons than that.
These kinds of leader-follower relationships do not happen easily and do not happen in large gatherings. They only happen in small group settings where you can really get to know each other. Are you willing to do that either as a leader or as a follower?
Prayer: Father, help me to develop relationships in the church that will help me to overcome fear and to test my loyalty, not only to you but to my friends. Thank you, Jesus, for pointing out my need for these kinds of relationships.
Proverbs 27 | Audio
Don’t brag about tomorrow,
since you don’t know what the day will bring.
2 Let someone else praise you, not your own mouth—
a stranger, not your own lips.
3 A stone is heavy and sand is weighty,
but the resentment caused by a fool is even heavier.
4 Anger is cruel, and wrath is like a flood,
but jealousy is even more dangerous.
5 An open rebuke
is better than hidden love!
6 Wounds from a sincere friend
are better than many kisses from an enemy.
7 A person who is full refuses honey,
but even bitter food tastes sweet to the hungry.
8 A person who strays from home
is like a bird that strays from its nest.
9 The heartfelt counsel of a friend
is as sweet as perfume and incense.
10 Never abandon a friend—
either yours or your father’s.
When disaster strikes, you won’t have to ask your brother for assistance.
It’s better to go to a neighbor than to a brother who lives far away.
11 Be wise, my child,[a] and make my heart glad.
Then I will be able to answer my critics.
12 A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions.
The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.
13 Get security from someone who guarantees a stranger’s debt.
Get a deposit if he does it for foreigners.[b]
14 A loud and cheerful greeting early in the morning
will be taken as a curse!
15 A quarrelsome wife is as annoying
as constant dripping on a rainy day.
16 Stopping her complaints is like trying to stop the wind
or trying to hold something with greased hands.
17 As iron sharpens iron,
so a friend sharpens a friend.
18 As workers who tend a fig tree are allowed to eat the fruit,
so workers who protect their employer’s interests will be rewarded.
19 As a face is reflected in water,
so the heart reflects the real person.
20 Just as Death and Destruction[c] are never satisfied,
so human desire is never satisfied.
21 Fire tests the purity of silver and gold,
but a person is tested by being praised.[d]
22 You cannot separate fools from their foolishness,
even though you grind them like grain with mortar and pestle.
23 Know the state of your flocks,
and put your heart into caring for your herds,
24 for riches don’t last forever,
and the crown might not be passed to the next generation.
25 After the hay is harvested and the new crop appears
and the mountain grasses are gathered in,
26 your sheep will provide wool for clothing,
and your goats will provide the price of a field.
27 And you will have enough goats’ milk for yourself,
your family, and your servant girls.