Paul, having identified himself as the author, now inserts the ‘address’ for this final letter to be drafted by his pen. Along with the destined reader he directs resources which leaders really need which are only available from God.
“To Timothy, my dear son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Timothy is Paul’s ‘son in the faith.’ Timothy’s own father is described as ‘a Greek,’ and the legacy of Timothy’s faith appears to have come through his grandmother and mother. Paul became more than ‘a father figure’ to this younger disciple. He dealt with Timothy just like his dealt with his other spiritual children, “as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging them to live lives worthy of God…” (1 Thess. 1:11,12)
Timothy needed encouragement. He was naturally timid and reticent to take the leadership being entrusted to him. He needed comfort and encouragement. The strain of ministry, the soon departure of Paul and the suffering that appeared to be mandatory for leaders was daunting.
But what he needed most is not what Paul could supply, but what God could. Grace, mercy and peace. Grace which would sustain and equip him for service. Mercy when he had failed to live a holy live and peace when his world seemed to be falling apart.
Are these not three areas well worth exploring with those we are seeking to mentor? I’m suggesting some topics for conversation with those with whom we are sharing our lives.
Grace – Tell me your experience of God’s grace. What has been your experience of God’s grace thus far? How has God’s grace been made evident in your life?
Mercy – What has been your experience of God’s mercy? Where have you failed God? Have you sought His forgiveness and received His mercy? Do you regularly address your sins with God as Jesus urged us to do in prayer?
Peace – How settled is your life? How would you describe your current state of mind? What issues or situations are robbing you of peace?
2 Timothy 1:2 is far more than just a traditional greeting, habitual though it appears in Paul’s letters. It was penned to remind this younger leader that what he really needed to become an effective leader is only what God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord could supply, namely grace, mercy and peace.