The tone of this letter is tired. It is thought to be Paul’s last. It’s been a violent and arduous journey, for both of them. Timothy has been hard at work alongside (although more recently, from a distance) Paul for years and there is always a temptation to slow down.
“For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” (1:6-7)
Along those same lines, Onesiphorus is commended (1:16) for being a source of refreshment.
Being tired is certainly relatable, although Paul’s intensity-of-life out-runs most of us. So, what does he prescribe his fellow weary friend?
- Be strong (2:1)
- Pass on what you learn (2:2)
- Endure hardships (2:3-7)
- Remember the Messiah is alive (2:8-13)
- Remind others (2:14)
- Be diligent (2:15)
- Avoid fruitless arguments (2:16-19)
- Maintain integrity as a servant of God (2:20-26)
Not all of these are directly applicable to us in the way they were to Timothy. We aren’t first century pastors. We aren’t all in daily disputes with Jews. We aren’t all facing violent opposition with our mentor in jail, but there certainly is room for us to keep moving forward in whatever work the Lord has given us to do.
What refreshes you when you’re tired of serving the Lord?
For me, it’s taking the time to remember who He is, then, narrowing down what He is actually calling me to be. I tend to over complicate, even letting my pride convince me I’m responsible for more than I am.
Part of this encouragement to Timothy is reminding him to not get entangled in side projects (all those fruitless arguments). What would be life-giving to let go of?