Though Timothy was young, Paul encouraged him to be an example to all. Timothy proved he could live up to these instructions.
Timothy was from Lystra, one of the cities Paul had visited on his first missionary journey. Timothy’s father was Greek, and his mother and grandmother were Jewish Christians who greatly influenced young Timothy. In fact, the Bible points out they were Timothy’s examples in the faith. Paul must have noticed Timothy’s potential to become a strong believer himself. When Paul came through on his second journey with Silas and Luke, Timothy joined them and journeyed into Macedonia.
Paul considered Timothy his son in the faith. When the church in Ephesus needed a pastor, Paul left Timothy there to teach and encourage the believers in that city. Timothy shared Paul’s life and ministry. He may have even been with Paul the day he was beheaded in Rome, as Paul had asked for him to come for a final visit.
After Paul’s death, Timothy returned to Ephesus to lead the church there. He continued to condemn the worship of idols that made many in the city of Ephesus rich. When Domitian ratified the second great Roman persecution of Christians, the idolaters became emboldened. Timothy was stoned to death around A.D. 98 – faithful until the end, as Paul had taught him to be.
No one is expected nor encouraged to live the Christian life alone. In fact, it is impossible to do so. In the same way that Paul mentored Timothy, we need someone to show us the way and believe in our potential to make a difference for Christ. We grow by watching others who lead by example in our church, our community, our families, and our schools. As we begin to assume our own roles of influence, we need fans on the sidelines, cheering us on toward greater commitment. Who is your example in the faith? Who is responsible for teaching you how to live for Christ? It may be a close family member, friend, or pastor. Thank God for their influence in your life.