Letter to my “Timothy”
Through my years of following the Lord, serving the Church and struggling with my own heart, there are a few main themes that God continues to lead me by.
First is that God Himself is true. He is preexistent and preeminent over all things. Who am I without God? What would there be without Him? Many people try to understand the world by trying to understand themselves. Their desires, their plans, their ambitions drive their view of happiness and success. That is a fruitless effort. We only know ourselves when we understand God is the beginning and the end. He was first, and will be last. He is completely other and more above our ways that we could possibly fully comprehend.
I say “fully”, because He has made Himself known! He has created us in His image so that we can relate to him. It’s kind of like an infant relating to His father – we see Him, we can understand his character and we can learn to trust Him. But an infant doesn’t know the thoughts of His father, nor can he comprehend the complexity of life and living wisely.
This is why we worship and why we study the Bible, and why we bend to Him. He knows, not us. Let’s seek Him together during our time here.
An extension of this idea is the centrality of the Gospel, and value that God places on our lives. In our rebellion we forced God away and seek our own wisdom and what we call “knowledge”. Jesus Christ died and rose again so we could have the forgiveness of our sins and be called legitimate “Sons.” All that believe in Him are His sons! Nothing can ever separate you from the love of God that is through Christ! There is no one that can take away that adoption or change it’s nature. You can’t even do it!! You think you can thwart God? Trust in the power of God and in the depth of His love and grace. The Bible speaks about all of this. Seek it out and remind yourself and other consistently about this.
We also need to be commitment to the Church. Yes, all believers all over the globe are His body, “the Church”. But saying that you are tied to everyone, really means you are tied to no one. The intention of the Church is that it is expressed in Local groups for the effectiveness of the gospel in that community. When we are adopted into His family we are included in His Church, and we are meant to live it out in actual relationships. Relationships that we can see and feel. Together we are the spiritual temple of God. Do not withdraw, but engage it.
Be bold and humble. God has called you into ministry and he will accomplish his goals through you. You will be a part of amazing life change, but know this is not you, but God working through you. As you are trained and equipped, continue to seek out being trained and equipped. You are to be trained, but you can always learn from everyone you interact with. Do not back down from a fight, but do not create them. Seek peace and understanding through and open and humble heart seeking to serve and to build up. When God gives you authority, take authority, but only as though it was on loan to you as long as you are faithful to lead.
Just as I have believed in God’s call in you, affirming it, refining it, trusting God’s work in you – seek to do the same for others that are growing in Christ. Not just those that are younger, but those that are older as well. Trust God’s work in others just as you would trust it in yourself. He is faithful to sanctify you through all kinds of experiences – successes and failures. His process with others will be similar.
We are servants of Christ first, and also servants of the Church.
It is his to lead, his to guide, his to direct. He has called you to serve for this season, in this local body, to effectively move the Kingdom forward here. You might be called to do until you go home to be with the Lord, but God may have different plans. Do not presume that you are finished hearing from the Lord – so guard your heart. Let Him lead you in every decision great and small. Fight against the temptation to become “professional” in ministry. Only strive to obey God and live with a clear conscience before Him everyday. Just as He called you into ministry, He can call others to pick up where you left off. Be faithful to God in your heart.
Persevere in serving Christ and His church.
Serving is hard work, and it comes with a burden that very few others would understand. It is work. Embrace the hardship of leading his people, and love them as dearly as you would love your own brothers. When the pressures of serving become overbearing, do not forget to lay all your anxieties at the feet of Christ. These are His problems, not yours. Pray. Pray because your Father wants you to join Him in what He is doing and He is already working.
Remember that God’s calling for you is first and foremost that you love Him, keep connected with him, and care for your family first. If you cannot lead your family well, the Bible teaches that we are not fit to lead the body of Christ. That is why I say guard your heart and tend to it. Not only your heart, but the hearts of your family as well.
Personally engage in evangelism and discipleship. Do personally the things you are trying to lead your church to be and to do.
I love you with all the love that I have – broken as I am. Just as I have asked forgiveness from you for how I have failed you, seek to forgive and be forgiven with those that you lead. Pride has no place in the Body of Christ.
With a sincere heart, and passion for the Church,