Since Paul Entrusted, What Are You Entrusting

Since Paul Entrusted, What Are You Entrusting

Since Paul entrusted, what are you entrusting?


When Heidi and I moved to Japan two years ago, my brother-in-law wrote a letter to us on behalf of my two year old niece. I would like to read that letter…. The truth is that that letter best represents the feelings of my younger sister. Since we are very close, she wanted us to know that it was going to be tough living in different countries. She wanted us to remember them and to know that they loved us.

Recently, I have been thinking about the last words of people and how they communicate what people really want to say. Even in the Bible there are many examples of people going their separate ways and passing along important messages to people they care about. Today I would like to talk about the last things that Paul wanted to communicate to Timothy.

The History of Paul & Timothy’s Relationship

As you know, Paul went on at least 3 missionary journeys. Since Paul was well-known, he certainly had a number of opportunities to meet a lot of people. What kind of person was Paul anyway? As a persevering person, he faced various kinds of hardships. That is the context of Paul’s final words to Timothy. Actually, it was his second Roman imprisonment and he felt like this time he was going to die. As a person who tried to protect the truth, he often confronted hypocrites. This was also the context for Paul’s final words toTimothy. And as a person who believed in the power of the gospel, it seems that wherever he taught the gospel he had faith that a church would be started.

Because Paul believed these things, he went on many missionary journeys. First of all, Paul and Barnabas went out from Antioch to Asia Minor and eventually they came to a city called Lystra where they healed a man with crippled feet by the power of God. According to Acts, we don’t know for sure who believed or not but we do know that at least a small church was started and Timothy’s mother and grandmother started to follow Christ. Moreover, Paul might have had his first encounter with Timothy at that time.

Paul’s second missionary journey also took him to Asia Minor. In Lystra, he met Timothy and the church people encouraged Paul to take him along as a disciple. He went along to help Paul and to be trained by him. He was a young disciple, but eventually he started to teach. When Paul had no choice but to flee from Berea, he left Timothy and Silas there. Why? It isn’t clearly written, but probably so that they could talk about the things that they learned form Paul. That’s amazing isn’t it? Even Paul gave this big responsibility to some very young disciples. Since Paul is one of our examples, what does this mean for us? What kind of responsibilities can we help our youth to accept? If it doesn’t seem that we can entrust new responsibilities to them yet, then how can we train and prepare them?

During Paul’s third missionary journey, Timothy became a true co-worker in the ministry. They traveled and taught together, and Paul would send Timothy off to deliver letters to churches like the one in Corinth. Eventually, Paul was imprisoned. At that time, Timothy was with Paul and he would often be sent out to deliver letters. Colossians and Philippians bear the names of both Paul and Timothy. When Paul was released from prison, he went to Macedonia and Crete. During that journey, Paul left Timothy in Ephesus. Later, he wrote the book of 1 Timothy to Timothy. Paul’s purpose was to encourage Timothy and to help him correct some false teachings. Some time later, Paul was imprisoned for a second time. This time he thought he was going to die and he wrote the book of 2 Timothy to Timothy. This book contains some of the final things that Paul wanted to communicate to Timothy. Of all the people that Paul knew and discipled, it is interesting that the one person he really wanted to write to and ask him to come visit him in prison was Timothy. Do you want to hear what he had to say? I think it is a relevant message for us too!

The Last Things that Paul Wanted To Say To Timothy

First of all, Paul said to fan the flame of God’s gift that is in you. Why was that an important message? As we said, Timothy was left in Ephesus to correct some false teachings. However, Timothy did not have a lot of confidence when dealing with forceful people. Also, according to 1 Timothy, some people took Timothy lightly because he was young. Furthermore, Timothy was often sick. Even though Timothy was young, lacked confidence, and was sick, he had a lot of responsibilities on his plate. Sometimes it is easy for people to come up with excuses to not do certain things. For me, speaking Japanese sometimes becomes one of those excuses. Sometimes that kind of thinking becomes a real barrier to our faith and service.

When Paul looked at that situation, he wanted to reconfirm some important truths. First of all, he wanted to affirm Timothy’s position as a Christian and one’s his disciples. So, he starts the two letters with “To my true son in the faith” and “To my beloved child, Timothy.” When we start to doubt our faith or our calling, these kind of words are really important. Do you think you could say these kinds of words to someone who is starting to doubt? When you feel like you can’t follow your calling, remember that you have become a child of God.

The second thing that Paul wanted to affirm is that Timothy possesses a holy calling. When we are making up excuses, it is easy to say, “It doesn’t matter.” But when we have a holy calling, we are able to fight through even the most difficult situations without letting them distract us because we are called to be righteous. So, what is it that you are currently fighting for? Why?

Finally, when Paul told Timothy to “fan the flame of the gift,” he was trying to encourage him. We can’t just fight on our own power or know-how. But we can do anything with God’s power and gifting. Paul didn’t just want Timothy to remember that truth but “to fan the flame” of it. He wanted to say that the gifting is a blessing from God. Actually, the Bible teaches that everyone who believes in Jesus has a special gift. In 1 Corinthians 12 it says that the Spirit gives ”various gifts to each person as he chooses.” Do you know your gifting? Have you seen God’s gifting in other people? If so, how does that influence your personal confidence or way of encouraging other people?

Secondly, Paul wanted to remind Timothy to proclaim the Gospel. Of course, the things in the life of the church are important, but we are people who communicate good news. So, Paul says to Timothy, “Preach the gospel” and “Do the work of an evangelist.”

Paul also writes about the reason that Timothy became a Christian. Paul remembers that Timothy’s faith first resided in his grandmother, Lois, and mother, Eunice. What that means is that Faith is something that can be communicated from one generation to another. So, what kind of impression does the current generation have regarding faith? What is the church communicating? Is faith legalistic, boring, and irrelevant? Or is faith something that gives hope and meaning to life? If the children of people in the church think that faith is irrelevant then we can be certain that other people around us will think the same thing. It is often said that Japanese churches are hard to enter, but if people could see a living faith then I am certain that the church would become easier to enter. Lets pray that this kind of faith will spread throughout the Japanese church.

In Paul’s writings another important theme emerges. It is that in the church we are a family of Jews and Gentiles following God together. Paul was a Jew, but the gospel he wanted to preach was not just for the Jews, but it was hope for the Gentiles as well. To what degree do you think Paul believed this? Paul’s closest disciple, Timothy, had a Jewish mother and a Gentile father. It is to this kind of disciple that Paul entrusted Christ’s gospel. There are many things for us to learn from this, but what I want to say is that people who receive the gospel will often be different from us. In the church, the fact that these different people who receive the gospel can have true fellowship is a really beautiful thing to behold.

Thirdly, Paul wanted to remind Timothy to teach the Word. Even though Paul and Timothy found themselves in a difficult situation, I believe that the servant of God’s most important responsibility is to teach the Word of God. That does not mean promoting our own ideas or opinions, but it means teaching the Word just as it is written. To help us remember this truth, Paul says that he suffered and was chained for the sake of the gospel. But he says that God’s Word cannot be chained. So, even though opinions and circumstances change, the Word of God never changes.

We don’t have time to read or explain them, but in 2 Timothy there are two important passages about the Bible. These verses are often memorized in Sunday School. They are 2 Timothy 2:15 and 3:14-16. Paul’s final reminder was to teach the Word of God and not your own opinions. There are certainly many human ideas, but the Word of God is God’s thinking.


As we fan the flame of God’s gift, preach the gospel, and teach the Word of God, lets be walking a path that encourages and trains the next generation!