1: "First, I tell you to pray for all people, asking God for what they need and being thankful to Him." - Paul begins to provide Timothy a framework for ministry by outlining the basics that are necessary for success.
2: "Pray for rulers and for all who have authority so that we can have quiet and peaceful lives full of worship and respect for God." - Nero was the infamous ruler of Rome at this time. We are to pray for all leaders regardless if we agree with them or not…perhaps even more so when we don't.
3-4: "This is good, and it pleases God our Savior, 4who wants all people to be saved and to know the truth." - No one exists outside the love, grace, and salvation that God has to offer.
5: "There is one God and one way human beings can reach God. That way is through Christ Jesus, who is himself human." - One God. And everyone strives to know Him.
7: "That is why I was chosen to tell the Good News and to be an apostle. (I am telling the truth; I am not lying,) I was chosen to teach those who are not Jews to believe and to know the truth." - Sharing the news of Christ and the One God who loves everyone was Paul's one and only purpose.
Points to Contemplate:
Do you pray?
Timothy is embarking on a new ministry and Paul is providing him with guidelines for success. Do you see the importance of prayer in your life and in your ministry? Do you pray for guidance? Do you pray for success? Do you pray for others? Do you pray for the world's leaders? Do you pray for those who oppose you? Do you pray for God's will to be done in all things? Do you pray for God to send you opportunities to serve Him and to grow His kingdom? Do you pray for the lost, the weary, and the tired?
Do you feel alone? Timothy had previous ministry experiences that had not gone too well. He had spent most of his life working closely with Paul and now, with Paul aging and in prison, he was moving out on his own. Are there times when you feel you have moved out in response to God's call and find yourself alone and at risk? Are there moments when you look around and feel that no one else is there and you are the only one following this path? Does it provide comfort to know that there is only one God? Are you assured to know that through you God is trying to save all people so that they, too, may come to know Him and be saved by Him?
Why were you chosen? What is your purpose in ministry? Have you written ministry goals, plans, and objectives? Have you spent time word-smithing and phrasing to capture a vision statement that will precisely move your ministry in the direction it should go? Have you remembered the Great Commission? Paul says he was chosen to teach the truth. Have you been chosen for the same purpose? Should all ministries have this same purpose and goal - spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ so everyone will know God's truth? Promises of the Gospel:
Following God's plan for our lives can be, at times, a scary and daunting task. The unknown future into which we step can cause us to be anxious and worried. Timothy probably felt ill-prepared and unskilled for a life of ministry without Paul at his side. Paul's loving letter of encouragement and support provides us with a framework to help us through those times of insecurity and doubt. First we are to pray at all times for all people. And second, we are to remember the One God who has loved us, forgiven us, filled us with His spirit, and given us the task to take His message into the world, making disciples of all nations. With these basics firmly in hand we can be assured that the steps we take are steps into the Kingdom of heaven.
I have meant to tell you that I really appreciate your writing style of asking questions of the reader. It makes the truth "up close and personal", and challenges us in a non-threatning manner to think about what we have read...thanks again.