March 21, 2009

Transformation Through Support

2 Timothy 1:5-7

I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother …
2 Timothy 1:5


Here Paul reminds Timothy that he stands on the shoulders of faithful Christians in the past. We should never underestimate the value of supportive people in our lives. Behind the heroes of history stand individuals who enabled those heroes to succeed.

Take Johan von Stopitz, the friend and adviser to Martin Luther. Von Stopitz introduced Luther to biblical studies, taught him the value of grace, and defended Luther when he was widely criticized. Luther credited von Stopitz with helping him to keep going through the most challenging times he faced.

In 1536 William Farrell challenged John Calvin to remain in Geneva. That decision directly affected the course of the Protestant Reformation and the spread of Reformed theology.

The apostle Paul encouraged Timothy to practice his God-given spiritual gifts. Like supportive people today, Paul focused on the positive dimensions of life, reminding Timothy that God has given us “a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”

God calls us to recognize and thank those who have supported and encouraged us, and to reach out and encourage others. You never know what might become of a life that you touch with the transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Thank you, Lord, for people who have helped our faith grow. Give us the vision and gifts to enable others to come to faith and to flourish in their Christian life. Amen.

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

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