The things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. (2 Tim 2:2)
Timothy was charged by Paul through the Holy Spirit to think of the next several generations of Christians, specifically those who would be teaching and leading in the churches. It’s not enough merely to think of what is going on in our time and who is leading us now; we must look to train and nurture the next generation of servants, teachers, preachers, and leaders.
At a practical level, how is this done? Consider the simple fact that Paul was “with” these future influencers as often as possible. Pay attention to words like “with” in the book of Acts and Paul’s letters. He’s pretty much always “with” someone, isn’t he? For example:
Paul wanted to have (Timothy) go on with him… (Acts 16:3)
Be diligent to come to me quickly… Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry. And Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. (2 Tim 4:9-12)
This really isn’t that complicated. In order to influence people, you have to be around them! In order for our young people to learn how to serve, teach, preach, and lead, they have to be around people who are doing those things.
Notice that Paul is telling Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:2 to be an initiator of this influence. Don’t fall into the trap of waiting for everyone else to come to you to learn. We can tell ourselves things like, “Well, if someone has a question or wants to learn something, I’m happy to show them.” You may be waiting a long time for that to happen. Instead, how about this?
- Plan a visit to one of the widows or shut-ins of the church family, and take someone with you on that visit.
- The next time you visit someone who hasn’t been attending our assemblies, take someone with you.
- When you have a Bible study with someone who isn’t a Christian, take someone with you so they can see what you do.
- Initiate a work day at the church building or the house of someone who could use some help, and bring some of the young people who may not normally be involved in such things; have them help in the work.
It’s a small start, but the key is to be “with” others. If you find that a lot of your mornings or evenings are wrapped up with watching TV or doing projects around the house, you might want to re-evaluate things. How about taking just one of those nights and getting intentional about influencing the next generation of Christians?
Paul wanted Timothy to go on “with” him…