When I first became a Christian I sat down and filled a complete notebook with notes that I took from a number of books I read on 1 Timothy. The notebook is long-lost, but the joy of the book has stayed with me throughout the years. Paul’s letter to his young friend more than any other book in the Bible spoke to my heart and gave me encouragement. Timothy was young, probably seventeen or eighteen, an outsider, afflicted with illness, and a lot of fear, yet there he is assisting Paul. In spite of all the baggage Timothy carried Paul was happy to have him on his team. That got me to thinking about the people God worked through in the Bible. Moses killed a man yet he led the children of Israel to the promised land. Paul (Saul) persecuted Christians every chance he could get yet he became the great missionary to the gentile world, and a large portion of the New Testament writings are from his hand. King David’s failures and downfalls could fill a book, but we wouldn’t have works like the amazing 23ed Psalm without him. Peter, the disciple, denied Jesus not once but three times when Jesus needed him the most. Yet Peter is one of the most loved and encouraging people in the entire Bible. God’s people might be a motley crew, but we all have one thing in common God loves us unconditionally in spite of ourselves. Our flaws and our backgrounds don’t separate us from God. Even at the cross Jesus cried out to the Father to forgive the mob that demanded His death. And at the Cross when the thief who was crucified next to Him called out for mercy Jesus freely gave it. The man hadn’t confessed his sins, repented of his old attitudes, been baptized or gone through a dozen Bible studies. He just knew he needed mercy and Jesus gave it. As Christians it’s good for us to remember that it’s not our accomplishments that God necessarily responds to, but it is our needs.
I love how the letter to Timothy begins, ” Paul an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our saviour and of Christ Jesus our hope, to Timothy my true son in the faith: grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” You can feel Paul’s love and warmth for Timothy in his greetings. The blessings that he brings to him are the same blessings he would wish upon a natural-born son, grace, mercy and peace. And what is amazing these gifts are not unique to Timothy they are God’s blessings to us as well. God wishes these gifts for us because of something called life. It takes a lot of courage to live to allow peace to reign in our lives. It’s easy to want to pull the rug out from under someone who is giving us grief, but, it takes grace to show mercy and understanding. I wonder why so often in life we feel the need to be right regardless of the cost in hurt and suffering we bring upon others? What is it about our ego’s that makes it so difficult to say, “I understand your point of view?” Instead of battles we need blessings. A great place to start is asking God for a little more grace, mercy and peace to live within us. Until next time be courageous and be strong in the Lord.