12: "I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who gave me strength, because He trusted me and gave me this work of serving Him." - Paul begins his letter to Timothy by outlining what Jesus had done for him personally. The God's Grace is the foundation for everything we do.
13: "In the past I spoke against Christ and persecuted Him and did all kinds of things to hurt Him. But God showed me mercy, because I did not now what I was doing. I did not believe." - The amazing thing about Grace is that our past does not matter. When we choose to believe everything is forgiven.
15: "What I say is true, and you should fully accept it: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst." - This is Jesus' one and only purpose; salvation for us all.
16: "But I was given mercy so that in me, the worst of all sinners, Christ Jesus could show that He has patience without limit. His patience with me made me an example for those who would believe in Him and have life forever." - The proof is in the pudding. The evidence of what Jesus has done for each of us shines through so that others may also believe.
Points to Contemplate:
Are you thankful? For what?
Do you regularly look back at what your life had once been in order to remember how much Christ has done for you? Are you able to see dramatic changes and transformations? Does your past validate your ministry today? Do you see how everything you have done and been through has prepared you for the ministry you are leading today? Do others grow closer to Christ because of what He has done in your life?
Has God shown you mercy? Do you feel deserving of His love and forgiveness? In Jeremiah's passages this week we were reading about the imminent destruction because the Israelites did not follow God. Do you see how Paul's message to Timothy opens the door to hope in a way that was not available to the Israelites? If you are still in disbelief, where does that leave you? Are you able, today, to set aside your disbelief and fully accept the mercy that God has waiting for you?
Do you cling tightly to your faith? Timothy was embarking on a life of ministry. His future was filled with uncertainty. Paul's letter of encouragement to Timothy reminds us to have faith in everything we do. When you embark into new areas of ministry are you able to do so because of your faith? When you are asked to step out into the unknown are you strengthened and encouraged by what God has already done for you? Do you pray for opportunities to be an example so others can see God's mercy and your faith at work? Isn't this what ministry is all about - showing people from your personal experiences what Christ has done for you? Do you have any other purpose? What, if anything, is holding you back? Do you have faith? Promises of the Gospel:
Timothy has left his mentor and has moved out into the world to do and achieve great things for God. This can be a scary moment in our lives. Leaving the comfortable and stepping out into the unknown takes a type of courage that many of us lack. Paul reminds us in these opening sentences that who we are and what we have become is the result of God's love and mercy. His grace, undeserving as it is, empowers us to become the disciples He is calling us to be. We become living examples of His love so that others can come to believe and know what God wants to do for them. This foundation gives us the faith to do anything and everything God calls us to do.