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St. Timothy: Pastor and Confessor

January 24th, 2008
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My name is Paul Timothy McCain. Many people always assumed my parents named me Paul after my father, who is also named Paul, but I came to learn the reasons for my name were much deeper than that. My father, Paul, wanted his son, Paul, to have the kind of father/son relationship that St. Timothy had with St. Paul, as summed up in these verses, from 2 Timothy 3:

Timothy, my son, you
have observed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my
patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions, my sufferings,
what befell me at Antioch, at lconion, and at Lystra, what persecutions
I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed all who desire
to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men
and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceivers and deceived. But
as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed,
knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been
acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to instruct you for
salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

My dad would often reference these verses on a birthday card, or in a letter, or on a gift book. I cherish the gift of the name my parents gave me and so any day in the Church Year set aside to commemorate and remember St. Paul and/or St. Timothy are special and unique for me, in a variety of ways; even more so now that my earthly father is with my heavenly father for all eternity, with St. Paul and St. Timothy and all the faithful pastors, confessors and all the saints.

Pastor Randy Asburry has a nice blog post today for St. Timothy and I offer it here to you for your consideration:

Today the Lutheran Service Book
calendar thanks God for St. Timothy, Pastor and Confessor. It’s more
than just a "Commemoration"; it’s a full "Feast and Festival" with
three readings appointed for the Divine Service (Mass). Here are some
reflections on those readings.

Acts 16:1-5
In
the first reading for this feast day, we read how St. Paul first met
Timothy and how he recruited Timothy to join him in the service of
preaching the Gospel. Timothy was "the son of a Jewish woman who was a
believer, but his father was a Greek." How interesting that Timothy
came from a family of one pious parent and one parent who was, well, we
just don’t know, aside from his nationality. For whatever reason, most
likely his father’s will, Timothy was not circumcised. So as St. Paul
recruited Timothy into the service of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he
chose to circumcise Timothy in order that the Gospel might have a
hearing among the Jews. From this reading we see that God most
certainly can and does use us weak, earthen vessels, with all of our
family and personal baggage – actually, despite all our baggage! – to
proclaim His goodness and mercy in Christ Jesus crucified and risen.
After Timothy joined St. Paul’s missionary entourage, "the churches
were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily." A
great testimony to the Messiah and the message that St. Timothy was
called to preach!

1 Timothy 6:11-16
In
this reading St. Paul exhorts Timothy on being a faithful pastor, that
is, a shepherd of souls. He urges the young pastor and confessor to
flee the self-serving, wealth-seeking ways of the false teachers
(6:3-10), and then he lists severals things that are to characterize
faithful pastors: "righteousness, godliness, faith, love,
steadfastness, gentleness." St. Paul urges Timothy – and, by extension,
all faithful pastors – to "fight the good fight of faith" and "take
hold of the eternal life to which you were called." While the pastor
may indeed serve and help people in this life, even with bodily needs,
his ultimate aim, his chief goal, for himself and his hearers, is faith
and eternal life – that is, life in communion with God, both now and
into eternity. As Timothy also learned from St. Paul, the pastor’s main
business is to make the good confession. And what a great example of
the good confession the Apostle gives to Timothy in verses 14-16! How
different this is from so many modern views of the pastoral office that
urge us to be congregational CEOs, junior psychotherapists, company men
always on the lookout for the next faddish way to excite people, lure
people, gather crowds, etc. Faithful Pastor Timothy shows us what truly
matters: confessing Jesus Christ crucified and risen, "the King of
kings and Lord of lords."

Matthew 24:42-47
While
the Gospel reading does not mention St. Timothy, per se, it does extol
the pastoral office. Just as Timothy was, so are all pastors called to
be "the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his
household, to give them their food at the proper time." The pastor is
certainly set over his congregation, but only as the servant of the
Master, answerable to Him. No, not a servant who kowtows to the whims
of the fellow servants and merely seeks their momentary pleasure and
all-too-fleeting approval. Rather, the servant who does the Master’s
bidding for the spiritual benefit and eternal life of his fellow
servants in the Master’s household. And what is the "faithful and wise
servant" – the pastor – given to do? "Give them their food at the
proper time." Of course, he is not to mistreat his fellow servants, nor
lord it over them, etc.; but neither is he free to give them whatever
faddish pablum or worldly false nutrition that he can innovate on his
computer or unveil from the denominational corporate office. Like
Timothy, the faithful pastor is to give out the Master’s food – the
very Bread of Life – the Master Himself in His Body and Blood and in
the "bread" of His Gospel message. And once again we hear a clue about
the ultimate aim of the pastor’s work: not this life, but eternal life
- life with the blessed and holy Trinity. He is to keep his fellow
servants awake to the life and love that God gives in His Son. His
message is this: "Here comes the Lord Himself, both now – in the
Gospel’s message of mercy and in the Sacraments of water, bread and
wine, and absolving words – and on the Last Day – when the Master
returns."

As St. Paul wrote to St. Timothy: "The saying is
trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a
noble task" (1 Timothy 3:1). What a "noble task" this Office of the
Holy Ministry is! What a great example we have in St. Timothy! Thank
You, Lord, for Your saint who learned from St. Paul and who passed on
the "good confession."! And so, for all pastors who want to be faithful
and follow in the footsteps of St. Timothy, we can do nothing better
than emblazon on our minds and hearts the words of 2 Timothy 4:1-5:

I
charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge
the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach
the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and
exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming
when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears
they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own
passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off
into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do
the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Hymn Verse:
All praise for faithful pastors,
Who preached and taught Your Word;
For Timothy and Titus
True servants of their Lord.
Lord, help Your pastors nourish
The souls within their care,
So that Your Church may flourish
And all Your blessings share. (LSB 517:11)

Collect of the Day:
Lord
Jesus Christ, You have always given to Your Church on earth faithful
shepherds such as Timothy to guide and feed Your flock. Make all
pastors diligent to preach Your holy Word and administer Your means of
grace, and grant Your people wisdom to follow in the way that leads to
life eternal; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy
Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (LSB Collects of the Day)

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  1. January 25th, 2008 at 13:33 | #1

    Thanks for the plug, Paul…or Timothy…or? ;-)

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