A story is told of a young man who had found a buried treasure. Now rich and famous he ventured into a nearby village where many came out to meet him. Among the crowd was a poor beggar who never had as much as roof over his head those many years. He summed up his courage and approached the stranger for some money to buy bread. To his surprise the rich stranger turned over half of his wealth to him. Amazement was felt by everyone present especially the beggar. The night passed and the next morning the beggar appeared at the door of the generous stranger. He said that he had appreciated his generosity but wanted to give back all the money. When asked why he was returning it, the beggar said that he dearly wanted to find out what he had that would cause him to give so freely so he could have it for himself!
What a person becomes is often determined by beliefs and influences. Of great importance for the Christian is the Word of God. The Bible is the source of knowledge for man to learn about his origin, his future state, and God. It gives direction, instructions, and teaching on important matters such as sin, judgement, and the deity of Christ. But most important it reveals our need of a Saviour and assures us about eternal life. Its truths impact our lives insomuch that they are observed by others who may wish to own these truths for themselves. In 2 Tim. 3:10-17 we are told that Timothy was to look outward at the lives of Paul, his Grandmother Lois, and his Mother Eunice, before looking inward at his own life where as a child he was taught the Scriptures, that led to his salvation. With these vivid reminders of God’s faithfulness before him and having known the Scriptures well, and even though he lived under Nero’s brutal regime, Timothy was expected to remain true to his faith. Without a doubt, the Scriptures is the lifeline for a Christians faith, we will learn more of this in the weeks to come, but for now let us turn our attention to the impact that the Believer may have on others.
A company of Christians was provided by God to help Timothy to continue in his faith and ministry. He was raised by a godly Grandmother and Mother from infancy and later in his teen years he met Paul and set out on an itinerant ministry with him. In the case of Timothy, the need for godly fellowship and mentoring cannot be overly emphasized. Proverbs 13:20 says “He who walks with the wise grows wise but a companion of fools suffers harm.” Timothy learns about God’s repeated protective care over Paul, and the manner he was able to endure though the many trials and circumstances (even now Paul is writing from prison). God’s faithfulness to Paul meant that, as Paul’s pupil, Timothy can also expect to find divine help to remain faithful. When we experience God’s faithfulness for ourselves or see it in others our hearts are lifted to pursue harder after God. In our day many have left behind an inspiring account of God’s grace in their lives. Lives that had been tested severely such as persecuted Christians in war torn countries who have not compromised or surrendered their beliefs but have remained firm. When faced with pressures, they pressed on and did not flee from God and seek help elsewhere. We must not forget these living testimonies of perseverance where Christians having faced all kinds of adversity and have come through it with their faith not only intact but considerably stronger than before. It is a sad day to see how little it takes for the North American Christian to turn away from following Christ. Perhaps, we need to look a little more closely at those who have been through the fire and have not departed.
In two weeks, part 3 – The centrality of the Scriptures