We all likely have to deal with managers or supervisors where we work. Oftentimes we look at a loafing manager and their corresponding title asking ourselves, “What do they even do?” Well, managers generally do have a purpose: to coordinate an effort between people that takes more than one to do. With that being said, the majority of those reading this have probably had at least one bad boss in their lifetime. These bosses can take many forms – the indecisive, the lazy, the micromanager etc. However, a great manager can get the best out of those whom he oversees and realizes that his success comes from the efforts of his constituents.
Paul, from the New Testament, could be seen as a sort of manager. Paul had to monitor the progress of all the churches, establish new churches, and correct ones that had fallen astray. Not to mention he himself had to preach the Gospel and develop other ministers. Needless to say, this made Paul a busy guy. Not only did Paul have to manage these churches, manage other preachers, and preach himself – he had to do all this often in a jail cell or in between court sessions of the Roman government. Yet, despite the gargantuan tasks that faced Paul and the unfavorable conditions that plagued him, he was still blessed by God! God equipped Paul with the tools he needed to succeed, and today still stands the church of the living God.
But HOW did God equip Paul? Paul didn’t have a cell phone, he didn’t have email, nor did he even have a bicycle to ride around on. God equipped Paul with others who could do what Paul could not. To give a good example, let’s look at Paul’s first epistle to the Thessalonians. Thessalonica was located on a major Roman highway called Via Egnatia, and they were susceptible to many social, cultural, and religious influences. Paul was concerned that such a young church would succumb to the false doctrines and teachings of the surrounding society. Since Paul himself could not travel to the Thessalonians, he sent someone whom he trusted to do it: Timothy. We see this all throughout the New Testament of how Paul sent many ministers to check on the churches. God didn’t equip Paul with omnipresence, but God equipped Paul with men and women who were ready to do the work of the Lord!
Our pastor can also be seen as a manager of sorts. He is the one who has to manage all parts of the church so that it might be effective. He is accountable for all workings of the church – preaching, finances, Sunday School, outreach, you name it.
Yet a pastor is much more than just a manager – he is accountable for the souls that he is called to minister to. With all this weight on his back, how can he get all this work done himself? A pastor must rely upon the Lord to provide the means of what needs to be done. So what does the Lord provide a pastor? The Lord provides the pastor people to do the work! We are not called to sit in a church pew and be pacified or entertained by the pastor, but we are called to be a tool of God ourselves. We can’t rely on the pastor to do all the work of the Kingdom of God, when we ourselves are called to do the work.
Consider yourself – are you doing what you can to lift your pastor up? Are we doing the work that we are equipped to handle, or are we relying on our pastor to pick up the slack? When he is delivering the Word of God, are we recognizing that it is meant for us? When a vision for the church is given, are we buying in on it, or do we just shrug it off?
Timothy went when Paul couldn’t; even to a place where the condition of the situation was unknown. Paul didn’t know what the state of the Thessalonians would be when Timothy got there. Actually, he was concerned for their spiritual well-being given the persecution that they would likely face. Yet, Timothy still went. Paul considered Timothy spiritually mature enough to handle whatever situation that he would have faced when he got there. While Paul would have liked to have gone to the Thessalonians himself, he trusted Timothy to go in his stead.
So be a Timothy! Are we spiritually mature enough that our pastor can trust us with tasks he can’t do? Surely he would like to do it himself, but he is only one man. We must be mature enough to serve as extensions of the church and do more work together than can be done by one man alone. Plus, there are no requirements to be a Timothy. It doesn’t matter how old you are; if you are a young person, you can use your youthful energy to reach the places that the pastor can’t on his own. For those who are experienced in life, you can use your Godly wisdom to guide and council those in the places where the pastor can’t reach on his own.
Being a Timothy means that you serve selflessly, sometimes even when our bodies are sick. In I Tim. 5:23, Paul tells Timothy to use a little wine for his stomach’s sake (this is because the water was filled with dangerous bacteria back then.) It’s not always easy being a Timothy, but we are trusted to do the work of the Lord.
Another thing that we notice about Timothy is always being on the receiving end of direction. Timothy is always being sent from here to there. Paul even wrote two epistles to Timothy – he received a LOT of direction! Yet we also see that Timothy hasn’t authored a book in the Bible. We hear a lot about Timothy by what Paul told him to do, but yet we never really hear about what Timothy had to say himself. Being a servant in the Kingdom of God doesn’t mean that we will be in the limelight – often it means that we are doing the work backstage.
The following passage of Scripture goes to show how much Paul truly trusted Timothy: But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. (Phil. 2:19-20). These verses show that Paul held Timothy in high regard. When Paul was sending someone to the Philippians, he sent Timothy. Not only this, but he said that he had no one like him. Whatever we do for the Lord, let us do it like no other. When we are given a task to do, let’s pour ourselves into it. No matter how big or how small we think the job is, let’s do it better than it has ever done before.
Timothy was surely given a myriad of things to do. Sometimes he just traveled with Paul, sometimes he delivered letters, and sometimes he was sent to check up on folks. However, sometimes Timothy was charged with things much more challenging, like pastoring the Ephesian church. Much like how Paul trusted Timothy to accomplish whatever he tasked him with, our pastor trusts us with the things he tasks us with. Sometimes we might be asked to do something that is much greater than what we think we could ever do. Whenever our pastor gives us a job to do, he trusts in our ability to accomplish it.
A pastor by himself cannot carry a church to continuous revival. A church is firing on all cylinders when the congregation trusts the Lord and they trust each other. We must remember that we are the Body of Christ and that no member works independent of the other.
Therefore, the Church needs Timothies! The Church needs those who are willing to follow the will of God, to go where others won’t or can’t, and to serve as an extension of the church to accomplish whatever it may be no matter how little or big. This may mean knocking on doors in your neighborhood, it may mean that you will lead a Bible study group at your school, or it may mean showing the love of Jesus Christ to those who are without.
Let us recognize that even though our pastor is a great man of God, he is still a mortal man who tires. We have a duty as saints of a church to lift up the pastor to strengthen and encourage him whether it’s raining outside or the sun is shining. He is always there for us, so let us always be there for him!
We must realize that our pastor is more than a manager, and he is more than just a preacher. He is accountable for the souls of the sheep that the Lord has charged him to shepherd. Are we causing our pastor to lose sleep at night, or are we allowing him to rest easy knowing that he can trust us? Let it be known, though, that we will struggle sometime down the road. But when we do, our pastor will be there for us when we need him. Many times when we pray to Jesus for help, or pray for a friend, it is often answered through the pastor.
Let us be a Timothy to our pastor’s Paul. Let us be faithful so that he can trust us with whatever task needs to be done for the church. Let us pour ourselves out for the work of the Lord and see what kind of revival we can have!