Set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12
In 2011, after a decade of childlessness, my wife and I chose to start afresh in a new country. Exciting as the move was, it required my leaving a broadcast career, which I missed. Feeling lost, I asked my friend Liam for advice.
“I don’t know what my calling is anymore,” I told Liam dejectedly.
“You’re not broadcasting here?” he asked. I said I wasn’t.
“And how is your marriage?”
Surprised at his change of topic, I told Liam that Merryn and I were doing well. We’d faced heartbreak together but emerged closer through the ordeal.
“Commitment is the core of the gospel,” he said, smiling. “Oh, how the world needs to see committed marriages like yours! You may not realize the impact you’re having already, beyond what you do, simply by being who you are.”
When a difficult work situation left Timothy dejected, the apostle Paul didn’t give him career goals. Instead, he encouraged Timothy to live a godly life, setting an example through his speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity (1 Timothy 4:12–13, 15). He would best impact others by living faithfully.
It’s easy to value our lives based on our career success when what matters most is our character. I had forgotten that. But a word of truth, a gracious act, even a committed marriage can bring great change—because through them something of God’s own goodness touches the world.
Who has touched your life and what qualities did they have? How can you set an example of faithfulness today?
Dear God, help me to remember that the work I do isn’t as important as the person I become. Please make me more like You.
Discover more about who you are in Christ.
Timothy was a protégé of the apostle Paul (1 Timothy 1:2). As one of his most trusted associates, Paul affectionately called him “my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 4:17). On many occasions, Paul sent Timothy to several churches as his personal representative (Acts 19:22; 1 Corinthians 4:17; 16:10–11; Philippians 2:19–23; 1 Thessalonians 3:2–6). He’d left Timothy in Ephesus, the richest commercial city in Asia Minor, to deal with the various problems in the cosmopolitan church, including confronting false teachers (1 Timothy 1:3–7) and disorderly worship (2:8–15), appointing elders and deacons, and challenging materialism and greed (3:1–13). Here in 1 Timothy 4, Paul encourages Timothy to live an exemplary life and to grow and excel in his teaching ministry (vv. 15–16). Timothy is to lead by being “an example for the believers” (v. 12).