But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you have learned it. (2 Timothy 3:14)
Perhaps one of the best pieces of advice I received as a young pastor went like this: “Whom do you admire? Whom do you aspire to emulate? Make a list and then go and sit at their feet and learn.” I remember questioning the advice. I mean, people are busy; and why would anyone want to meet with a young pastor from a small town in Acton? But I was reassured, true Christian leaders want to pour themselves out into other people’s lives.
So I took the advice. I looked for people who had a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ and were creatively communicating that relationship in word and in deed. Then I sat down and wrote them, expressing my desire to learn from their life lessons.
Some conversations were short but powerful while other conversations developed into long-term mentor relationships. Some of the people were “famous” and others, not so much. But what I was impressed with was how many on my list were truly willing to meet with me, give of their time, and who were willing to speak into my life.
Interestingly, some of the people I met on my journey didn’t say anything profound. I remember meeting with one pastor of a large church in our city for about two years; I can’t remember one thing he said. I’ve never quoted him in a sermon – but his “way of life, purpose, faith, patience, love and endurance” (2 Timothy 3:10) had a profound influence on my life.
Paul tells the young Timothy to “continue on in what he had learned”, because he “knew those from whom you learned it.” (2 Timothy 3:14). This wasn’t an empty doctrine that Timothy was teaching; it was a vibrant faith that he had seen lived out in the lives of Paul, his own family (2 Timothy 1:5) and so many other faithful Christians in the early church. This was real.
Of course, it doesn’t mean that Timothy didn’t need to have his own vital encounter of faith with Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 1:5b). All it means is that in the midst of the challenges of life there are times when it really, really helps to look to others in the church and find strength, wisdom, and guidance.
A Christian leader follows godly role models. I trust that you are.
In thanksgiving for you,