2 Timothy 2:2 is a verse I come back to over and over.
“And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”
As men serving the Kingdom, we are entrusted with the mission to spread the Gospel. We are also entrusted with the task of seeking out and tapping other faithful men to pass the baton to, who in turn will teach others also. It is a pattern we must follow that perpetuates the spreading of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
But it can seem ambiguous to begin. How do we go about finding faithful men to entrust and how do we lead them in the process? Paul’s discipleship to Timothy gives us a prime example to follow. Much could be said about their work, but just looking at 2 Timothy 1 & 2 gives us a launch point to begin.
1. Paul found a man of sincere faith.
I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. 2 Timothy 1:5
In other words, Timothy was fertile soil. He came from a rich inheritance here, and interestingly we see his mother and grandmother listed as faith-filled influences in his life. Paul invested in Timothy and became his spiritual father.
2. They built a tight bond.
As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. 2 Timothy 1:4
Paul was writing what would be his last letters to Timothy, and we see the grief they share. In other scriptures Paul refers to Timothy as his beloved and faithful child in the Lord, a brother, his true child in the faith, and his beloved son. He speaks to Timothy as a father. To form a father/son type relationship takes time, energy, and intentionality.
3. They did it while fulfilling their mission.
Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 2:3
In other scriptures, Paul calls Timothy his fellow worker and bond-servant of Christ. They forged a relationship shoulder to shoulder, doing the work of the Lord. They formed their Band of Brothers as soldiers advancing the gospel of Jesus Christ, often with great suffering.
4. He prays for him.
I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. 2 Timothy 1:3
This is a reminder to never to underestimate the power of prayer. It’s easy to say, but it’s imperative to model. Paul speaks repeatedly in his epistles of thanking God for the saints and being in constant prayer for them. I pray we are found faithful in the area of praying for others, especially as we invest in other brothers.
5. He reminds him of the principles to hold on to.
So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. 2 Timothy 2:22-23
Timothy was a young man, and to Paul, that was no disadvantage. He encouraged Timothy not to let anyone look down on him because of his youth, but instead to set an example for other believers. (1 Timothy 4:12) He gives constant encouragement to Timothy and specific examples of things to be on guard against and the things he should be actively pursuing.
Paul knew if the work was to be carried on, he must do it. Those are some high stakes. The word “faithful” in this scripture tells us that this man is reliable and can be trusted. The future of the gospel was riding on Timothy and others like him who had faithfully learned from men like Paul, and they must in turn find the men who could be relied upon and trusted to carry on this mission.
Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.1 Timothy 1:13