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Are friendships even a thing?

June 15, 2017

Paul’s second letter to Timothy is extremely personal. The teacher is encouraging his student. The older friend writes to motivate his younger friend. The mentor helping his pupil.

Reading the letter in one sitting, you’ll notice a very close relationship between the two. Paul had trained Timothy for ministry. They had labored side-by-side. They had lived together on the road. Joys and sorrows of working with people were shared. They knew the other’s favorites and what the other really could not stand.

Can you imagine the hours they spent talking with each other while traveling down the roads? The questions that Timothy asked of the experienced preacher? The questions Paul asked to get his pupil to learn?

Take a look at these verses in the first chapter:

I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day.  As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy.  I am reminded of your sincere faith… (2 Timothy 1:3-5).

I remember you in my prayers. Paul was able to pray for Timothy, for his specific needs, because he had spent time with him. He knew what tasks were before him, but also what weaknesses Timothy had and the challenges that he would face.

I remember your tears. Perhaps Timothy had tears in his eyes as he parted from Paul the last time. And Paul wanted to see his friend again. He longed to see him.

I remember your sincere faith. Paul had seen how Timothy’s mother and grandmother had poured their lives into Timothy, teaching him the Word of God as a child. Paul continued that, shaping the young man into an effective servant of God.

Throughout the rest of the letter, the closeness of their relationship is revealed. Paul encourages him to continue on in the ministry, in spite of the challenges. And he also tells his young friend that he knows that his earthly life is about to end.

Those kinds of friendships are rare, especially among men. But I don’t think that they have to be. They aren’t instant. They don’t mature around the coffee machine at church. They aren’t strengthened by an occasional text message.

TIME is what it takes. Time working together in ministry. Time learning from each other. Time talking with each other about something other than the weather and sports. Time praying with each other about personal struggles.

And I think the other guys in your church would like to have a close friend, just like you.

What are you going to do about it?

 

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