The letters that Paul wrote to Timothy are some of my favorite passages in the Good Book. Perhaps it is because of the personal nature we see in these letters, or perhaps it is because like Timothy I have had people who have helped and encouraged me. It is clear when we read these letters that Paul had a deep care and concern for Timothy. He refers to him as a true son in the faith and a beloved son (1 Tim. 1:2; 2 Tim. 1:2). Paul wanted his son to be successful as a Christian and as a preacher.
I have been in a similar situation. When I started preaching I had men such as Steve Higginbotham who encouraged me to be better and do more. They were able to see greater things for me than I could see for myself. Steve encouraged me to move to Karns and attend the East Tennessee School of Preaching. Deep inside I liked the idea, but at first I couldn’t imagine Carla and I quitting our jobs and moving to Tennessee. Steve just kept planting that seed in my mind until the time was right.
When we finally made the decision there was a lot involved. Steve and Kim were great encouragers, opening their home to us while we visited the school, but they were not the only ones. There were several preachers who spoke to their elders on our behalf as we sought to raise money to attend school. Other men such as Westley Hazel and Blaine Kelly made calls to congregations that had helped them in the past. There were also individuals who pledged their personal support to our endeavors. We were amazed and impressed with how many people were willing to help. We were glad that the church was not as weak as some would claim. There are still a lot of good people and strong congregations.
Aside from the regular financial support that we received, there were countless others who called us and sent us letters and emails offering words of encouragement. It was not easy being away from family, and at times we were so busy that it was almost overwhelming. However, it seemed that something always happened to lift us up. One year around Christmas our refrigerator went out. We not only lost the normal things, but all of the extra things that we had purchased for visitors that we were expecting during the holidays. The same day that this happened I went to the mailbox and found a card from a good friend and elder of the Lord’s Church. Inside that card was a much unexpected gift. This was very uplifting, not just because we needed it at the time, but it reminded us that we were not alone and that there were good people who had our back.
That is why I am presenting this challenge. If you don’t have a Timothy, you need to find one. We need to encourage our young men to preach the word. There are over 7 billion people living on this planet. If we intend to send the gospel to all those people it is going to take some manpower. Go find yourself a Timothy!