September 9, 2019

September 9, 2019

September 9, 2019
1 Timothy 3:14-16
by John Shearer
Laity of First-Centenary UMC (Chattanooga, TN)
Scenic South District

Have you ever sent a letter – or at least an email or a smart phone text - to anyone trying to encourage the person in his or her faith or to live a faithful life that expresses the heart of Christ in some way? Or have you been the recipient of such a note?

It may have been from a friend or mentor offering you positive encouragement as you take that next step in your schooling or career, or while you are going through some kind of challenge. Or it might be some hopefully constructive criticism from a parent. You know – shape up or…!

I can particularly remember one or two positive letters I received from my late mother when I was in college four decades ago encouraging me to find a noble and rewarding career and offering me other worthwhile advice. Thinking about those letters today still creates a warm feeling in my heart.

I have tried to encourage others occasionally in life or in the faith, although probably not nearly as much as I should. And they might not have turned out as positive as they should have been. I remember a few years ago when I was helping with the college program at another church, I sent an email to a young leader who I felt was not setting a good example for the group in one regard.

I never heard from him about the email, nor did I approach him in person afterward, but later I heard him tell someone he never checks his email. So I almost felt a sense of relief knowing he probably did not read it after I earlier questioned myself regarding whether I should have even sent it.

In 1 Timothy 3:14-16, the writer – who many believe to have been the Apostle Paul – tries to encourage the young leader, Timothy, at the church at Ephesus. The writer mentions that, in case he is delayed, he wants Timothy to know how one should behave in the household of God. In essence, he says, he or she is to live a godly life by following Christ.

I must admit that in recent years in the busyness of life, I have only occasionally written an encouraging letter or note like Paul did. But in the adjunct introductory college journalism classes I have had a chance to teach over the last decade or so, I have become aware of all the opportunities I have to encourage students positively in other ways, and in the process try to briefly model Christ.

I often ask them individually about their career goals or dreams when the opportunity presents itself.

Some simple positive encourage is more my style, and I can tell they usually appreciate the interest. May we all find our own way to encourage others in a hopefully Christ-like manner!