Focal Passage: 2 Timothy 1:3-18
On Feb. 2, 2013, ex-Navy SEAL Chris Kyle of Texas was laid to rest at the age of 38. He was the son of a Sunday School teacher and deacon. He became a household name with the publication of his book American Sniper. It detailed his service to the United States as a member of an exclusive special-ops team. Kyle would serve four tours of duty in Iraq, garnering numerous medals and awards. Chris Kyle understood the word “loyalty.” When his wife, Taya, first met Chris, she assumed all SEALS were “arrogant, self-centered, and glory-seeking.” Chris responded, “I would lay down my life for my country.” Kyle served his country well, then walked away to spend more time with Taya and their two children, ages 6 and 8. He set up a foundation to help ex-military who needed counseling, particularly those suffering PTSD. One of the therapeutic methods was taking these young men who had been emotionally scarred to a shooting range where they could talk about their struggles. It was in this service that Kyle and a friend were killed by one of the men they were trying to save.
Paul exhorted Timothy to be loyal to Christ and His people. Loyalty can be both learned and earned. Timothy was blessed to be raised by two God-fearing women of faith, his mother and grandmother. They taught him the value of loving God. Then there was the presence of Paul himself in the life of Timothy. Paul had intently prayed for Timothy, trusting that God’s Spirit would empower and guide the young church leader. Paul knew the path before Timothy might very well be difficult. Just as he had suffered, he knew the Jewish hierarchy and the Roman political machine would pressure Timothy. Twice Paul used the phrase, “do not be ashamed” (v. 8, 12) to prompt and persuade Timothy to be strong in the threat of persecution. The call to ministry is worth it. Remember what Christ has done for you, and what He promises for your future (v. 10-12).