But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel. ~Philippians 2:22
Yesterday, we looked at John Mark and his mentoring by Peter. This morning, we are looking at Paul and his mentoring of Timothy. The principle of spiritual mentoring is given to us in 2 Timothy 2:2: “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”
We see the importance of closeness.
Paul referred to Timothy’s closeness to him as “a son with the father.” This had very special meaning in the first century. In family businesses and in farming, the son followed his father and did everything his father did. The son was trained to do what the father did. From sun up until it was time to turn in and go to sleep, fathers and sons spent entire days together. The father mentored his son with the idea that the son would one day replace the father in his responsibilities. Closeness in mentoring is a vital necessity for successful succession planning.
We see the importance of compatibility.
“For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.” One of the top priorities in mentoring is for the protégé to model the heart, the head, the hands, and the habits of his mentor. Paul developed many men during his ministry. However, Timothy is the only one he could safely say was likeminded in his care for the Philippian believers. There must be the right chemistry in mentoring. Paul tested Timothy over and over again in matters of doctrine, compassion, people skills, problem solving, decision making, discipline, and prayer. One of the signs that mentoring is headed in the right direction is when there is compatibility.
We see the importance of commitment.
“For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's.” Paul wanted to be sure that the man he sent to represent him was committed to him, the people, and the task. It is sad that he says, “All seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's.” In mentoring, one of our goals is to chisel away at the immaturity of the ones we are mentoring. This includes stubbornness, selfishness, pride, preferences, and fleshly competition. A great challenge in mentoring is a protégé thinking so highly of his gifts and calling to the point that they conflict with the direction and goal of the leader and the church. Drive total commitment, and you will have a high confidence factor in whom give your “keys” to.
We see the importance of competence.
Paul said, “Ye know the proof of him… he hath served with me in the gospel.” Timothy proved his character, his commitment, his compatibility, and his competence through the fruit of his efforts in the gospel with Paul. Timothy had a heart for God, the gospel, church planting, and the spiritual development of believers. He proved himself when he was with them, and there was no need for anyone to question Timothy’s competence. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. People must have confidence that our choice of leaders is premised in truthfulness, experience, testings, and durability.
Paul sent his son to serve the Philippian believers. God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for sins. Jesus told the Jews, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” Mentoring should produce a “like father, like son” result. It takes time and constant modeling to produce a Timothy.
Have a committed God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Mark 8-9