I Timothy 5:1-24
Reading Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus reminds me of a big volume of textbook I once saw on a seminary student’s bookshelf – the name of that huge book is called “The Pastor’s Handbook”. Paul and Timothy were in a spiritual bound mentorship; from their interactions we saw a loving relationship – a senior pastor and a junior minster cared for each other and for the house of God, from both personal and professional levels.
From 1 Tim 4:13, we learned that Paul’s instruction for the focus of Timothy’s ministry was public reading of Scripture, to preaching, and to teaching. In chapter 5, Paul further provided Timothy with some practical how-to tips and notes:
General guideline is treating the congregation as the family members according to the individual characteristics – for example, treating the elders like the father for respect; the younger men as brothers for support. There’s an emphasis on purity toward treating young sisters, which is a timeless principle.
For thousands years, mortality rate and society structure inevitably created a disadvantaged group, the widows. From Acts 6, we know that the survivors benefits problem was further complicated cross-culturally between Hebrew and Greek speaking congregations, which happened to be Timothy’s field of service. Knowing what kind of servant-leader Paul was, I don’t think he was trying to be harsh in one way or another. He was just being realistic and gave Timothy some guidance for holding the individuals and congregations accountable and properly administering church’s resource.
Next section, Paul addressed the how-to towards working with church elders. Having the dual roles of being dedicated church members and Timothy’s co-workers in teaching and church affairs, they deserve the double honor. With their high visibility, Timothy ought to be careful and serious when there’s accusations against the elders and if they actually sin.
Paul then charged Timothy again for being fair and pure. Besides pastoral matters, Paul also cared about Timothy’s personal health and wellbeing. What a lovely relationship between the mentor and the mentee!
As a member of the congregation, what are we doing to support our senior pastors and junior ministers? How do we assume our own responsibility of being followers of Christ and put efforts in developing future church leaders? Do we treat each other as the Scriptures expected us to?
Lord, please help us to be faithful servants and may us grow with the church family together and let others see we are followers of Christ. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen. — Ivy Lin