(Based on the message “The Portrait of a Son” by Chris Hodges at ARC’s All-Access 2013 Conference)
THE PORTRAIT OF A SON
The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy about seven traits of a son in ministry. He uses seven metaphors to paint a portrait of the son he wanted Timothy to be as a minister. So many serving in ministry today are confused, overwhelmed, or simply being less effective than they could be, but so much of that can change through applying what Paul taught in II Timothy chapter 2. Let’s take a look at these seven metaphors:
1. BE A MENTOR LIVING A REPRODUCING LIFE.
And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. II Timothy 2:2
It may seem counter-intuitive, but Paul’s first instruction to Timothy here isn’t to go study more, to read another book, or to listen to another teaching. Instead, he tells Timothy to share with someone else what he has already learned.
I was blessed to have spiritual fathers like Pastor Larry Stockstill and his dad, Brother Roy Stockstill. But sadly, I hear many pastors lamenting the fact that they didn’t have a strong father in the ministry. I often tell them that one of the best things they can do is to go out and be a father or mentor to another pastor. You reap what you sow. Be the kind of father in ministry that you wish you had for yourself, and watch what God does.
You grow more by sharing what you’ve learned than you do just by hearing it.
So ask yourself this question: Who are you influencing? Or maybe a better question would be: Who should you be influencing?
2. BE A SOLDIER LIVING A DISCIPLINED LIFE.
Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer. II Timothy 2:3-4
The second metaphor Paul uses is that of a soldier. A soldier is trained to be very disciplined, particularly in taking care of their equipment. Discipline is key to being entrusted with responsibility and opportunity.
Jesus taught that if we are faithful with little, we will be entrusted with much. One of the best things you can do as a minister is to simply be faithful with what God has blessed you with: the car you drive, the home you live in, the church facility you meet in, and the people He has sent you already. Discipline yourself to be faithful with what you have, and you’ll find your self being given more.
What area or areas of your life could use more discipline?
3. BE AN ATHLETE LIVING A FOCUSED LIFE.
If anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules. II Timothy 2:5
The third metaphor here is an athlete. Just like great athletes know how to maintain great focus, it takes focus to be a great leader. The enemy is inevitably going to present plenty of distractions. Great Olympic athletes are willing to set aside food, time, and just about everything else for the one goal of winning their event. Likewise, we as pastors and leaders need to be willing to fight off distractions and press toward the goal God has given us.
What distractions are standing in the way of your life’s mission? And do you have the guts and the determination to eliminate those distractions?
4. BE A FARMER LIVING A FRUITFUL LIFE.
The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this. II Timothy 2:6-7
As a pastor, you should be living a fruitful life. You should be plowing, sowing, weeding, and watering – these are all part of the ministry of a pastor. But as you do these, you should continually be holding to the expectation of the harvest that is coming. The harvest should consume every part of your ministry hopes.
Souls, souls, souls. That is ultimately what this is all about. Never lose sight of that truth.
Are you driven by eternity?
(Watch for the second part of this message coming in just a few days.)