2 Timothy 1:1-14 (NRSV)
Chapter 1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, for the sake of the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus, Verse 2To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. Verse 3I am grateful to God-whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did-when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. Verse 4Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy. Verse 5I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you.
Verse 6For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; Verse 7for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. Verse 8Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, Verse 9who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, Verse 10but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. Verse 11For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher, Verse 12and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him. Verse 13Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Verse 14Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.
From where comes the strength and courage to soldier on when the wind is in our face?
Young Timothy, only a boy, has been trained, called, and sent by Paul to Ephesus to serve the fledgling church there. But the Ephesians are in open and destructive conflict. And they challenge Timothy’s authority, “Who does this kid think he is, that he can lead us?”
So Paul, writing to encourage his young protégé, points to a theme of this week’s readings: Remember from where comes all things! He reminds Timothy that his faith, and thus his strength, comes not from the self he has begun to doubt, but from God. And because it is God’s faith that lives within us, we can live, not in shame or cowardice, but in confidence—“relying instead on the power of God, according to God’s own purpose and grace.”
Our Father, who art in heaven, THINE is the power. O God, when we lose confidence in the face of life’s challenges, strengthen us to rely on you and your power to accomplish all that you purpose. Amen.