Throughout Paul’s missionary journeys recorded in the book of Acts, he interacts with a number of young men who variously traveled with him, ran errands for him, and continued the work in a congregation begun by him. However, while the text mentions a few of these younger preachers, the relationship Paul had with Timothy serves as a poignant model that deserves careful attention and emulation. After ten years of working together, Paul wrote his first inspired epistle to Timothy, and even the opening salutation reveals the spiritual depth of their relationship: “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope, To Timothy, a true son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Tim. 1:1-2).
The foundation for the close relationship shared between Paul and Timothy was their mutual commitment to Jesus Christ. Paul’s work as an apostle had brought them together. Doing God’s will had made their relationship possible. It took Paul with Barnabas to Lystra, and that same commitment to doing God’s will caused Timothy to join them (Acts 16:1-3). Yet, despite their differences in age and authority, they both depended on God for salvation and on Jesus for hope. Indeed, these brought them together to form a bond as a spiritual father to a spiritual son.
Sometimes today we fail to appreciate the power of Christianity to create and cement lasting relationships. But the more we invest in working with one another in the kingdom, the more our relationship with our heavenly Father defines our relationship with one another so that grace, mercy, and peace from God become tangible and visible in our daily lives. This is the type of relationship we should all long for and cherish within the church, but we must also be willing to invest our time, energy, and love in one another to make it happen.
Brown Trail church of Christ