It has been calculated that there are around one hundred people, associated with the Apostle Paul, mentioned in either the book of Acts or in his letters. Of these, twelve appear to be long term relationships. However, there is little question that Timothy, Paul’s assistant for up to fifteen years, was closest to his heart.
This week I have been both encouraged and challenged in reading Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy. Paul an old man nearing death, now languishes in a Roman prison cell. The letter, possibly Paul’s most personal and passionate opens by Paul addressing his ‘assistant’ of around fifteen years as my ‘dear son’ (1 Tim 1:2). Throughout the letter, Paul is careful to share with Timothy insights concerning his family, as well as bringing him specific challenges and encouragements that are particular to his context, personality and need.
For many, there is a temptation to protect their privacy, to hold others at arms-length and to somehow compartmentalise our lives. Yet, as we read the pages of the New Testament, we discover that the Christian life is not an individual pursuit, but rather a community project. Indeed, in looking at Paul’s example, we see that he allowed others to spend time with him, not only to listen to his teaching, but also to observe his life.
In light of this, I encourage you develop meaningful relationships through which The Lord would encourage and challenge you, just as he did Paul. Why? In order that you develop your full potential in HIM!
Every blessing, Gareth