“I am writing to Timothy, my dear son.
May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace. Timothy, I thank God for you—the God I serve with a clear conscience, just as my ancestors did. Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. I long to see you again, for I remember your tears as we parted. And I will be filled with joy when we are together again. I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you.” – 2nd Timothy 1:2-6
Timothy was a young pastor in Asia Minor in the early days of the church. He was a protege of the Apostle Paul, and considered as his own son. Paul poured much of himself into Timothy over the years, and, from what history tells us, Timothy became a very effective leader for the church.
Timothy had a couple of obstacles to overcome, first being much younger than those he was charged to teach; and secondly, his father was Greek, giving him some cultural obstacles. However, God had a plan for Timothy, and He placed people in his life that would lead him and continually build him up. Along with the Apostle Paul, Timothy also had a faithful mother and grandmother that continued to support his efforts.
I was considering this morning, “Who has God placed in my life to build me up and bring me closer to Him?” He reminded me of someone that I had not thought of in years, my Aunt Mae. She died about 15 years ago, but let me tell you, she was a wonderful woman.
I grew up unchurched (as all of you know,) but also in an unstable situation. For a little kid, it is easy to become invisible when living amongst strife and chaos. My Aunt Mae was my dad’s sister. And she had an amazing ability to make you feel like the most special person in the whole world, even when the rest of your world was falling apart. She loved me, just for me. She always stopped what she was doing and was so happy to sit and talk when I would drop by unannounced. She made you feel like nothing was more important than you. I miss her very much.
When I was 5, she gave me a Bible for my birthday. It was a really nice one. I didn’t even know about it because my mother put it away, probably trying to protect it from crayons. But as a teenager, I found it. Being unchurched, I didn’t know anything about it, but the inscription compelled me to try and read it. The inscription read, “To my sweet Lana. Happy Birthday, 5 years old! Love, Aunt Mae.”
Oh, I tried to read it alright. But it was in the King James Version, and I didn’t understand a word of it. So I gave up pretty quickly. But I knew from the inscription that she thought it was very important that I have it. So I held onto it. I still can’t read it. But it does help me to remember someone who loved me dearly and wanted to encourage me in my faith. I am very thankful for that.
How about you? Can you think of anyone that God has placed in your life to be an encourager in your faith? Aren’t we blessed to have those folks, that love us enough to pour themselves into our journey?
I invite you to take a walk down memory lane over the weekend. Think about those people that have made an impact on you. Consider saying thank you, if that is possible. Or maybe just say a prayer on their behalf. And secondly, consider who God might be placing in your life that needs the same kind of encouragement. We are surrounded by people in all venues of our lives that might need a Paul or a Eunice, or an Aunt Mae. Maybe God has placed you there for that particular purpose. The generational effects of such efforts are too many to count. I hope you listen closely and take advantage of those opportunities. They are blessings in themselves.
Peace brothers and sisters.
You are my Good Father. You have surrounded me all my life with people who have protected and encouraged me. Thank you for those individuals, too many to count, but precious just the same. Thank you for my aunt, who went out of her way to love me and make me feel special. Help me to be that kind of aunt, mother, and friend – the kind that invests in young lives for the better.
In the name of Jesus I pray,
Beautifully written! Thanks so much for sharing this little part of your own story. You may recall from our Garrett practicum that I embarked on a listening project “Witnessing Journeys In Faith”. One of the sessions focused on just this sort of thing! Who helped form you in faith? These stories in themselves are a wonderful witness to the next generation.
Your writing also calls me to task- who am I to nurture and encourage, right now??? I ride on the shoulders of any. I am full of gratitude!
It is good to hear from you. I hope your studies are going well. I too love to hear the richness and diversity of people’s stories. They continue to express the depth and breadth of this faith tradition that far exceeds my understanding.
I hope you are living in peace and I am glad to learn that you are not riding on the shoulders of just any:)
Oops! I ride on the shoulders of many. Typo.