“Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.”
~ 1 Timothy 6:18
Hi James and Ellen,
Paul did not task Timothy an easy short term ministry assignment when Paul tasked Timothy to go to Ephesus. Paul during his third missionary journey spent well over two years in Ephesus. Paul – for two of the years that he spent in Ephesus, was a daily lecturer or teacher in the Hall of Tyrannus. The guys who would become the leaders of the Christ-follower communities of guys and gals in Ephesus were probably the guys who were taught the Gospel by Paul during his daily lectures in the Hall of Tyrannus. Ephesus was during the time that Paul spent there a proud, rich port city and trade center. Eastern religions and Greek philosophies were mixing and challenging the beliefs that Christ-follower guys and gals had who were living in Ephesus. The Gospel message that Christ-follower guys and gals who were living in Ephesus had accepted through Paul’s teachings as being absolutely true was being watered down by an emerging emphasis that had knowledge as the criterion for being able to understand what darkness really is – which man made up, and to understand what pure light really is – which was the Divine Being’s realm. The guys who were teaching this mindset thought that they had been given a special insight into the Divine Being’s corner – which had them thinking that they were purer than other guys. This emerging belief paradigm was called Gnosticism. A gnostic tentacle evolved into a type of syncretism that has been advocated by the Catholic Church to affirm other kinds of belief systems – such as animism. How would you have liked to have found yourselves in an environment where guys and gals were finding different ways to partner astrology and magic with philosophy and a belief in a crucified man – Jesus?
Your grandpaa does not think that God – as God the Father, hardwired Timothy with the kind of temperament that would have given him the kind of confidence that he needed to confront the guys who saw themselves as being knowledge based purveyors who melded beliefs so that different beliefs would make sense to every guy and gal. Your grandpaa thinks that Timothy had a fearful spirit. Paul had been Timothy’s mentor for going on twenty years when he wrote his first letter to Timothy. Paul’s first letter to Timothy was filled with insights on how to deal with issues that Paul knew that Timothy was facing in Ephesus. Paul also wanted the first letter that he sent to Timothy read by the different Christ-follower communities of guys and gals that were in Ephesus. Paul – in 1 Timothy 6, challenged slaves to accept their masters in an equal way – no matter if a master was a Christ-follower or not, church leaders to watch out for the emerging gnostic belief paradigm – saying that what some guys were doing by intertwining different mindsets and beliefs into something palatable for every guy and gal to believe in as truth was nothing more than just godless chitter chatter and money grabbers – who were the guys who were putting making and having a lot of money before their faith in their belief that Jesus Christ was their Lord and Savior. Paul wrote in verse 18, “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.” Your grandpaa just cannot see Timothy going up to a rich dude – even though this rich guy may have been a faithful member of a Christ-follower community in Ephesus, and saying to this rich guy – ‘you need to change your life focus and . . .’or ‘your church and I need your money so please . . .’ your grandmaa and grandpaa have found that some guys who have accumulated a lot of money are proud at time that they have a lot of money. Having a lot of money to some guys gives them a perceived prestige over other guys who they know which . . . giving to causes that would help God’s earthly kingdom does not resonate with some guys who have a lot of money.
Your grandmaa and grandpaa are advocates for short term ministry trips and short term ministry personnel. Because your grandmaa and grandpaa have been vocational missionaries in a context that is somewhat similar to what Paul’s context was, your grandmaa and grandpaa have gladly accepted short term field ministry assignments. There is right now an onslaught and an inundation of short term ministry teams and short term ministry personnel from Christ-follower communities in the United States going to countries and people groups all over planet Earth. Your grandmaa and grandpaa think that this is a good thing. Your grandpaa believes that if a unit has been called by God – as God the Father, to be a vocational missionary – which is a lifetime call from God – as God the Father, to serve cross-culturally in His kingdom on planet Earth, that this unit is to live itinerantly versus opting for finding a permanent residence to live in in his or her host country. Short term ministry assignments are experiential learning opportunities for each guy and gal who accepts an assignment or who actively strives for an assignment to another culture with its different set of norms and mores. One component of your grandpaa’s tasked responsibilities that he has at OC’s headquarters at this time is to help guys and gals who are wanting a short term ministry assignment to be assigned to a country and to learn from the experiences that will occur during his or her field assignment. Your grandpaa is going with a short term ministry team the end of next month that is scheduled to go to Guatemala. Your grandpaa believes that his time on this short term ministry team will influence each guy and gal who is going on this short term ministry team to live more proactively through praying more specifically and giving more intentionally as faithful servants in God’s kingdom on planet Earth. Are you willing to pull a Timothy when you are older? Pulling a Timothy is being available to do whatever it is that God wants you to do no matter how unqualified that you feel.
1 Timothy 6 (547)