26 January 2007. Memorial of Sts. Timothy and Titus
2 Timothy 1, 1-8, Psalm 96, Luke 10, 1-9: The Way to Encourage
Paul sent this letter to Timothy, whom he always spoke with affection. Timothy was from Lystra, Galatia, a colony of Rome. There was a Roman garrison in Lystra who controlled the Isaurian mountain tribes. Paul and Barnabas came to Lystra in their first missionary journey (Acts 14, 8-21). Paul and Barnabas lodged at Timothy’s home, because of the faith of Eunice, Timothy’s mother, and Lois, his grandmother (2 Timothy 1, 5). Timothy was a child of mixed marriage. His mother was a Jewess and his father, Greek. Timothy was young, and on Paul’s second journey (Acts 16, 1-3), Paul took Timothy with him. Timothy was significant in the Christian church of Lystra. His youth lent charm, enthusiasm and energy in the community.
From Paul’s second journey, Timothy became his constant companion. He was sent to Macedonia as Paul’s emissary. He was present when the collection from the churches was sent to Jerusalem. When Paul wrote his letter to the Romans in Corinth, Timothy was with him. When there was trouble in Corinth, Paul sent him there. To know how the Thessalonian church was doing, Paul sent Timothy to them. Timothy was with Paul when he was writing to the Corinthian, Colosssian, and Roman churches. When Paul sent him to the Corinthian Church, he writes, “I have sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 4, 17). When Paul called Timothy “his true son” he used gnēsios, a Greek word with two meanings for son: legitimate and genuine. For Paul, he was the person to trust and to be sent anywhere. He was the person, though not related by blood, knew his heart and mind, and thus he would be a perfect representative to communities when he cannot go. ‘
The same way for Titus. Titus was also very dear to Paul who also called him “his son.” Both Timothy and Titus were sent by Paul to places that needs leadership. Titus was with Paul in Jerusalem when the Church in Jerusalem mistrusted Paul. Titus was also in Corinth when there was trouble there.
The first reading is taken from Paul’s letter to Timothy. And in the reading we see how Paul encouraged Timothy who was young but was sent to Ephesus to battle against heresies that threatened the Church.
First, Paul reminds Timothy of his own confidence in him. There is no inspiration as great as knowing that someone believes in you and in what you can do. Second, Paul tells him of his family. That what he does will make his family proud of him and give them honor. We, Filipinos, know exactly what this means. Third, Paul tells Timothy of the grace of office. If you are given a responsibility by the Lord, it means you can do it excellently because the Lord gives the grace that you will need to carry out your job.
And finally, a tip in leadership. He tells Timothy that a Christian leader should be courageous, and not to fear any challenges that comes his way because God is with him. He tells Timothy that he has a power coming from the Holy Spirit and not from himself alone. This power will give him strength. And finally reminds him of the primacy of love. Above all, a leader must have a heart. He is able to understand the people he governs, and has genuine concern for their welfare. Any decision he makes must come from his love for them — even if it means that by his decision, he might hurt others in the process. Parents, for example, have to discipline their children. It may be hurting to them, but it is necessary for their welfare.
All Christians are given some form of leadership and responsibility at any point in their lives — some, almost at all times. Whether young or old leader, we can learn how to lead people by following Paul’s way of boosting the morale of his constituents.
*Stephen, one of UPSCA’s newly inducted members, and hopefully one of the emerging youth leaders. Timothy was a youth leader during his time.