A close study of the scripture reveals that when God raises up a man or women to become a leader for His cause a movement develops around their personality. During their lifetime of ministry they will have a following and a great influence for the truth of God and His word. But a greater test of their leadership and influence will be how the work of their influence survives once they are removed from this life. The great preacher J. Oswald Sanders once said concerning pastor leaders, " If he is to discharge his trust fully he will devote time to training younger men ( & women) to succeed and perhaps even supersede him." We must remember that the great leader Moses handed over Israel's leadership to Joshua, King David to his son Solomon, even our Lord turned over his earthly ministry to men & women. All believers received the truth of God's word and His gospel from those who came before them and one day would leave them. And the next generation is responsible to pass that influential truth on to the next generation. Parents in particular are to do this ( Deut 6:6-9) along with pastors ( 2nd Tim 2 ) and all leaders in the great Kingdom of God!
The Apostle Paul understood very clearly the power in obeying this principle of training others to replace him one day. he grasped the truth that he would depart this world one day and that the only way another generation of people would hear truth and know the gospel of grace depended upon his training others to spend their lives doing the same as he. The size of Paul's influence on others will only be seen in heaven. Yet two men stand out, he led them both to Christ and personally disciples them into mature leaders of their time. Timothy and Titus both and only are called by Paul as " My true child in the faith" ( 1st Tim 1:2 & Titus 1:4 ). Timothy was clearly Paul's protege, his spiritual son and constant companion in the ministry. It was primarily on Timothy that the mantle of Paul's leadership fell ( 2nd Timothy 2:2). The New Testament reveals that Paul took him in not only as a worker but a son. He spent years training, teaching, and protecting him. Timothy availed himself to all Paul was pouring into his life. He was became Paul's right hand man, their hearts were knit and minds were common. Near the end of Paul's life he calls for Timothy " to make every effort to come see him soon" ( 2nd Tim 4:9 ). He wanted to see him one last time. We are unsure if Timothy made it to Rome before his death but it was Paul's last request to see his son in the faith. The last letters of Paul were written to Timothy and Titus as he gave final instructions and exhortations to those who would extend his ministry as they accomplished their own.
Timothy as Paul his mentor and model leader would also suffer persecution. He was later imprisoned for the cause of Christ ( Hebrews 13:23). Tradition says Timothy suffered martyrdom in the closing years of the first century for opposing the worship of the false goddess Diana at Ephesus where he served as pastor for many years. Like Paul his example " he fought the good fight and finished his course and kept the faith" ( 2nd Tim 4:7 ).
Young Timothy especially to young believers is a model of faithfulness to follow and Older Timothy encourages each older saint to remain faithful to the end. His life characterizes true faith to follow, a man of proven worth . Philippians 2:19 reveals that Timothy had the same heart, love for people, message, doctrine, and strength that Paul had. Paul sensed in sending Timothy to the Philippians that he was sending himself. That whatever Timothy would say, do or lead in would be exactly what he would do if he were there himself. 1st Corinthians 4:17 teaches that because Paul wanted the Corinthians to imitate him he was sending Timothy to remind them of his ways which would be found in Timothy.
Paul lists 7 truths about Timothy that made him a qualified role model.
1. Timothy chose the right example. (2nd Timothy 3:10-17)
2. Timothy had a compassionate heart. ( Philippians 2:20)
3. Timothy focused on the right things. ( Philippians 2:21)
4. Timothy was a man of integrity. ( Philippians 2:22)
5. Timothy was humble. ( Philippians 2:22)
6. Timothy lived a sacrificial life. ( Philippians 2:22 )
7. Timothy made himself available. ( Philippians 2:23)
Some Final Thoughts!
Think with me about the importance of each of us finding someone to invest our life into. I mean really investing our all into someone and making a difference for the next generation. Secondly think about the importance of taking our lives and letting someone have that kind of influence in our life. To seek out the right kind of person and allowing them complete access into our hearts, minds, and souls. To seek out a truly dedicated, completely surrendered and sold out Christian who God's hand is on and letting them train, teach and hold you accountable. Think of the eternal power of such. IT TAKES TWO. By the way the best trainers are usually the be trainees.
Terry has been the Senior Pastor of Liberty for 30 years. He and his wife, Karen, have 4 children, 11 grandchildren, and 1 spoiled dog named Cooper.