I like coffee. And I like books. So when another local pastor asked me if I wanted to join a reading group that met one morning each week at the local coffee shop, I jumped at the opportunity. The first meeting was just him and me—as was almost every Tuesday morning meeting for the next 6-7 years thereafter. What was originally intended to be a small group of ministry leaders reading books together actually ended up being two guys talking about life and ministry and everything in between. In retrospect, I was actually being mentored by an older, wiser pastor friend that had decided to invest in me.
A similar relationship is found in the book of 1 Timothy. Paul, an older, wiser, more seasoned and experienced ministry leader is writing a letter of encouragement and exhortation to a younger Timothy, his “child in the faith” (v. 2). Paul had been entrusted with an important message for the world, “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (v. 15). It was this message that Paul both experienced and preached, and it’s this message that he charged his ministry predecessor to continue preaching. Imagine how encouraging it must have been for Timothy, a young “up and coming” pastor to receive encouragement from the apostle Paul—the Paul who encountered Jesus on the Damascus road…the Paul whose letters ended up making up the majority of the New Testament. It’s conjecture at this point, but I like to think that Paul’s words rang in Timothy’s ears as a constant reminder to keep going, even on the difficult days.
What about you? Who is investing in your life right now? Do you have anyone in your life—perhaps someone older and wiser—that keeps you going? Someone you can take your cares and concerns and questions to? Or on the other side, who are you investing in? Who might benefit from your encouragement? What experiences do you have that you might be able to share with someone a few steps behind you?