Passing the Baton

By Rev Dr Clive Chin

Beginning in August, our church will begin a series of expositional messages on Paul’s second letter to his apprentice, Timothy. What is the message of 2 Timothy and why is it relevant to the life of ORPC? 

This letter is a great resource for struggling Christians, who don’t know what the future holds but want to be faithful. Essentially, these are Paul’s last words to Timothy, because he expects to be executed soon (4:6-7). He is really speaking to the next generation, so the church would be vibrant into the foreseeable future. In the opening verses of chapter one, Paul gives thanks for Timothy, then challenges him to take the baton from him.

Firstly, he gives thanks to God for Timothy: “I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you” (1:3-5). 

As one who discipled Timothy, Paul recalls his own history, so Timothy can see his rich spiritual ancestry. We are all part of the unfolding story of God’s work in this world through the ages. Paul reminds Timothy that it is God, working through people discipling and investing in us, who causes the spiritual growth in our lives. As a result, we must impart the faith to the next generation. What are we doing today for our next generation to prepare them for the road ahead and to ensure the witness of the church in succeeding generations?

Paul has provided guidance necessary to bring Timothy to this point in his spiritual and ministerial development. He writes: “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give you a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline” (1:6-7). Paul challenges Timothy to keep feeding his spiritual vitality and to take the baton of leadership in the church. A Christian disciple is not only a learner, but is committed to reproducing himself or herself in the life of others. To all the Timothys of ORPC, are you ready to take on the challenge from Paul?