Jump Start # 2805
1 Corinthians 16:10 “Now if Timothy comes, see that he is with you without cause to be afraid, for he is doing the Lord’s work, as I also am.”
Make sure that Timothy isn’t scared. Now, there’s lots of things that scare people. For me, it’s snakes. Hate them with a passion. Don’t try to convince me that some are good. The only way a snake is good in my book is if it is good and dead. Some are afraid of storms. Some are afraid of dying. Some are afraid of flying. Our list of fears can be long, very long. Here, Paul was sending Timothy to a church. Timothy was a young preacher. Certainly there is an element of nerves on the part of the young preacher. All young preachers have had that. But, there was something more here. The Common English states this passage, “…be sure that he has no reason to be afraid while he’s with you…” That thought puts the fear factor upon the Corinthians.
And, there was plenty of things to be afraid of if Timothy was going to stand for the truth. A troubled church often has a lot of fixin’ to be done and much too often, no one wants to do that. Fellowshipping an immoral member, divided over the Lord’s Supper, fighting over spiritual gifts, suing each other, false teaching spreading among them—there was a long, long list of things that needed to be worked on. And, Paul was sending in a young preacher. Old heads, with hearts full of arrogance won’t take well to hearing what a young preacher has to say. So Paul is sending a warning shot across the bow of the ship before Timothy gets there. Don’t make him afraid. Don’t abuse him. He is doing God’s work. He is doing what I am doing.
And, with this there ought to be some lessons for you and I to think about.
First, we should never be in a position where other brethren are afraid of us. One of the main reasons why people do not go and talk face-to-face with someone that has offended them is that they are afraid. A friendship may end. A shouting match may begin. The tension and the pressure become so great that we’d rather suffer silently than go and deal with the matter. Our countenance and the manner we carry ourselves has much to do with this. Even we preachers need to take this to heart. Anyone ought to be welcome to talk to us without feeling intimidated, scared and the sense of heading to the principal’s office.
Second, tough things often have to be said. Sometimes they are said from the pulpit. Sometimes they must be said face-to-face. Creating an atmosphere which encourages one to speak the truth makes all of that go so much easier. In the home, the kids may be afraid to say something to their parents. I’ve known kids who had a big brother or sister sign the report card because they were afraid of what mom or dad would say. Some can be like a volcano that might explode at any given moment. People walk around on eggshells, fearing that they may say or do the wrong thing. That’s not a healthy home. Nor, does that make a healthy church.
Third, we older folks can learn from the younger ones. There is no “pecking order” within the kingdom. A young Timothy can have more insight and faith than we older ones. When we allow age to out rank others, then we are heading to a dangerous place. We can all learn from each other. Being thankful to a young man who gives the invitation on a Wednesday or teaches a class helps create an atmosphere of respect, love and appreciation for each other. Fear can keep some from preaching what needs to be preached. Now, what’s preached, needs to be spoken truthfully and filled with love. We preachers can create problems by the manner in which we say things. Picking scabs only keeps wounds from healing. Keeping a spirit of unity, love and fellowship goes a long way in learning and sharing from each other.
Don’t cause Timothy to be afraid. Paul was protecting young Timothy, yet he was also sending him right into the middle of a mess. Paul didn’t keep Timothy home. Paul didn’t find nice safe places for Timothy to preach. Go to Corinth. Preach God’s word. But a warning came to the church, don’t make Timothy afraid.
The upside potential was win-win if all went well. Timothy would grow, get more backbone and learn how to face tough situations. The Corinthians would learn how to walk closer to the Lord. If it went well, both would do well. If it didn’t, disaster could happen.
Sure gives us a few things to think about…