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Federation Rocks – Western Australia – Brockman Iron Formation
There is much in the Epistles of the Apostle Paul to Timothy that is relevant to all who are involved in Christian ministry today.
Reflections for the first nine weeks of 2019 have been prepared to assist those who are entering or already engaged in a process of discerning what is the will of God for their future ministry. The nature of that future ministry is not limited to what Paul described in these Epistles.
My intention is to provide a resource for all who love Jesus and seek to serve him. It is not restricted to those who hope to enter into holy orders.
First Epistle of Paul to Timothy 4: 6-16 (NIV)
6 If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. 7 Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 9 This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10 That is why we labour and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Saviour of all people, and especially of those who believe.
11 Command and teach these things. 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
What are the giftings which God has entrusted to you for ministry in his kingdom? Have you identified these giftings ? Have others confirmed that these are indeed gifts which you should use? Are you confident in them?
Paul has urged Timothy not to neglect the gift given to him (verse 14). That this gift is to be directed towards Christian ministry is inferred by Paul’s reference to prophecy and the laying on Timothy of the hands of the body of elders. Paul’s urging brings to mind the parable of the talents in the Gospel according to Matthew (25: 14-30). In that parable the servant who had neglected to use his talent wisely was regarded as “worthless”.
“Train yourself to be godly” (verse 7) counselled Paul, and then, “Watch your life and doctrine closely” (verse 16). No one in Christian ministry stops learning. No one has reached such a pinnacle of knowledge or experience that further learning in godliness is unnecessary. Paul has urged Timothy to be diligent in a range of matters, referring not only to how he was to conduct himself in his leadership and ministry but also how he was to develop and make progress in the roles entrusted to him.
We are enabled to teach others and to help others to grow only if we ourselves are actually growing.