Tip #13: Inspire Them (1 Tim. 6:11-16).
Flee! Run! “Fly, you fools!” Whatever it takes, get out of here! Make like a tree and leave. It’s time to blow this popsicle stand! But at the same time—stand and fight. Don’t give a single foot to the enemy. Brace yourselves like men…fight with everything you’ve got!
That’s the contrast Paul presents in the closing part of 1 Timothy. He’s launched into a discussion of the temptations of the rich—how the “love of money” ruins every part of our lives. After this brief section, he’ll continue to discuss that. But he takes a break, a divine rabbit trail to inspire his young mentee.
First, he says to flee “these things”—the riches of the world and the desire for them. Instead, he urges him to pursue the good stuff of life. He tells him to flee, but he also tells him not to flee but to fight for his faith. Run away from the bad, but at the same time stand and fight for the truth. He’s speaking like a coach to a player—“Go! Run harder, faster, farther!” Like the man whispering to the boxer in the ring—“Go for his weak spot! Don’t give up!” Sometimes it sounds less harsh and more like my sister the personal trainer—“It’s okay—don’t give up!”
That’s what the mentor should do. Be that coach, that personal trainer. It’s called inspiration. Help them catch the vision of the ministry. Yes, as we’ve already discussed, the ministry is sometimes difficult and downright depressing. But it still is glorious. It’s amazing to see a soul changed from darkness to light. To see your own heart become more and more in love with the Creator as you minister His Word. To preach passionately. To see miracles and moments you’ll never forget. You’ve got to inspire a love and a passion for that in your mentee.
Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 6:12, “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” Timothy had made a confession to serve Christ—Paul told him to continue in it. No matter how violent Ephesus got or how many death threats were in his inbox, Timothy was to continue confessing Christ as Lord.
And Paul gives him a military-like charge in the next verses: “I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ…”
The good confession. Never stop confessing it. Never sway from its truths. Why? Because He’s coming back. He is the Sovereign of the world—King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Immortal. Dwelling in unapproachable light. Unseen. “To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.” Paul’s reached a climax in his mentoring relationship. He has a benediction charging Timothy to keep serving God no matter what comes.
You need that benediction moment with your mentee. Eventually, you’ll have to set him loose and see him go out into the wild world. Paul had to do it. He had to send Timothy on missions by himself and trust him. And he even had to station him in one of the largest assemblies in one of the largest cities of the ancient world. But he never lost contact. He kept writing him, reminding him of what he taught him and what Timothy had already done…and what he could continue to do in the power of God.
Never give up mentoring. Yes, you’ll see one go off to college or seminary or get married and move away—hopefully even to a faraway place to spread the Gospel that you taught them! But start again with a new person. At the same time, don’t lose contact with your Timothy. Maybe one day you can have dozens of Timothy all around the world and be writing your own epistles to them to inspire them to keep going (albeit not God-inspired—sorry).
At the same time, I hope this series has inspired YOU, the Xer or Boomer. Inspired you about the need of mentors for young men like myself. It’s pretty sad when I talk to guys my age and look at my own life and we can’t say we have an older ministry guy that is our mentor. Someone to whom we can confess our struggles and get advice. We appreciate every effort—every coffee conversation or office visit. But we want more. We want a Paul. We know it’s hard for busy guys like you all. But we long for it—we even pray for it daily.
Will you be the answer to our prayers? Please, we’re begging you. Don’t let another week go by without scheduling a meal with one of us. We’re looking straight to you—can you provide us the inspiration for the ministry, so we in turn can become the Pauls to the generations to come?