“Timothy, my son, here are my instructions for you,
based on the prophetic word spoken about you earlier. May they help you fight well in the Lord’s battles.” I Timothy 1:18, NLT
“Fathers We Are, And Could Become!”
The relationship between the Apostle Paul and Timothy, a young man he met in the city of Lystra is a beautiful illustration of a fatherly-mentoring relationship. People in the area who knew Timothy spoke very highly of him. Very little is mentioned of Timothy’s biological father; but we do know he was a Greek, and possibly a Christian (Acts 16:1-2, NLT). While Paul was no substitute for Timothy’s natural father, the instructions and care the Apostle gave Timothy was invaluable to the young man’s faith development and maturity. A mature-godly man can, within appropriate ethical boundaries, develop an effective father-son relationship with other young males.
The Apostle Paul had no children, and some speculate he was a widower (cf. I Corinthians 9:5, NLT). Regardless, he became a fathering-mentor to many younger men and women in the faith. Who we are is what we have been given; who we become is what we do with what we have.
The healthy impact of a person’s character, can have a profound effect on our lives. There is beauty in simplicity. Little things can produce great results. In the mid to late-1970’s, I occasionally assisted the late Dr. Howard Gottlieb, the curator of Special Collections in Mugar Library at Boston University. He introduced me to the private collection of the 83,000-documents that comprised the papers of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr; papers collected between 1948-1964. One day while reviewing the papers, I was struck by several letters Dr. King had written to his father, while a student in seminary. The letters were simple, yet heart-warming. The letters always ended with the closing, “I love you, Daddy.” That one statement lingered with me, as the essence and invaluable quality of a fatherly influence. One year I was in Atlanta attending a conference. A kind, elder man greeted me. Everyone there called him, Daddy King!