Mentoring Young Timothy…
I was watching the second season of the David Letterman’s new Netflix series, called “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction”, and found his interview with Melinda Gates quite engaging. Not only is Melinda married to Bill Gates of Microsoft fame, but she is, in her own right, quite a philanthropist and has done much through their foundation to eradicate polio and other diseases throughout the world. In fact, Melinda said that there were only about 30 cases of polio left worldwide and they are looking to eliminate this dreaded disease in the very near future. It will be the first time that a disease is no longer a threat to humanity.
But while there are so many accomplishments to celebrate through the work of their foundation, Melinda humbly spoke about the impact that Warren Buffett has had on her life, the Gates marriage – and even Bill’s life. She looks at Warren as a stabilizing influence, a straight shooter, who has a strong moral compass and helps the Gates family stay grounded. She went on to credit him with huge improvements in her life – someone that she and Bill could look to for counsel and words of wisdom.
It was impressive as she recounted Buffett’s business accomplishments but then focused on his character and what she and her husband have learned throughout the years from this American icon. She considers Buffett, who is undoubtedly the most impressive investor who has ever lived, with causing her to think outside the box and to consider ways to help people that may have not been on their radar screen before. In other words, Buffett has expanded her horizons and encouraged her to focus on the big picture.
It was a great interview and I couldn’t help but be impressed with the way that Melinda carried herself during the Letterman questions. In fact, I was touched by the idea that she clearly considered Warren Buffett a mentor and that there are many partners associated with the foundation who share in its success.
I couldn’t help but compare the Buffett/Gates relationship to the apostle Paul and his protege Timothy. Paul had tried to mentor John Mark earlier in his journeys, but that didn’t work out very well. Paul’s relationship, however, with Timothy and Titus was different. Perhaps he had learned more about mentoring younger men – or even mellowed a little. In fact, the three Pauline epistles that were personal in nature and not written to specific churches were written to Timothy (1st and 2nd Timothy) and the book of Titus.
Paul’s purpose in writing first Timothy was to help his young friend stay strong in the faith and to set forth what Paul considered to be the fundamentals of the faith and the leadership of the local church. Paul was a firm believer that churches should adhere to certain doctrines that were present with the apostles in the early years of the church.
For example, Paul thought that people should share the Lord’s Supper together (communion), they should pray together and also fellowship together. In addition to all this, they should make sure that they adopt the same doctrinal stance as the apostles. That doctrine included a belief in Jesus as deity, the Virgin birth, the death and bodily resurrection of Jesus and several other fundamentals that the apostles practiced.
Paul also taught Timothy that how the church was organized was not nearly as important as its dedication to Christ. That was good advice for Timothy and still good advice for us. There are many different configurations for local churches but we must stay strong in the fundamentals and keep our eyes focused on our Lord and Master. At one point, Paul becomes so overwhelmed by the magnificence of God that he breaks out into a doxology, a form of praise to God. In fact, it is a way to glorify God and that brings us to our verse for the night.
Paul, after telling Timothy about how he was saved by grace through the mercy of God, tells us, in 1 Timothy 1:17, “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” This is a verse that most of us have heard used as a benediction at the end of church services.
My encouragement tonight is that God loves it when we dedicate ourselves to the praise and worship of him, whether it is in song, prayer, silence, solitude or some other form of recognition. My prayer is that we will all periodically be overcome, as Paul was, by the thought of how much God loves us and how He, as a merciful God, provided us with His grace. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…