A Younger Brother
Clint Eastwood has made millions playing the lone maverick that rides into town, beats up on the bad guys, and then rides out of town unattached and still alone. It’s a powerful, successful plot in westerns or detective movies, but it’s a terrible, ministry paradigm. Jesus sent out his disciples on the first ministry tour two by two.
After the church was founded, the Apostle Paul and Barnabas took off on the first ministry journey from Antioch as a team. And after meeting Timothy at Lystra on the first missionary journey and introducing him to Jesus, on the second missionary journey, Paul asked him to join the team. For the rest of Paul’s life, Timothy becomes one of his most trusted co-workers (Acts 16:2-3, Phil. 2:20-22, 1 Tim. 1:2, 18; 2 Tim. 1:2, 2:1). So, when Paul writes to Philemon from prison, Timothy is right there at his side.
“Paul, a prisoner for the sake of the Messiah, Jesus, and Timothy, our brother….”
In his earthly ministry Jesus spoke of brother-sister relationships far deeper than physical blood ties (Mark 3:35). After his ascension and the church was founded, believers took seriously what Jesus was saying about the fact that those who receive Jesus become the sons and daughters of God (John 1:12). As Paul begins his personal letter to Philemon, he immediately stresses this family relationship with Timothy and, today, we need to be relating to all those who join us in the faith as brothers and sisters.
LORD, powerfully move believers by your Spirit to genuinely treat one another as precious, loved family members and not as strangers or even as business associates. Use me to teach and live this Christ-generated, family love and then use it as a powerful witness to those who have not experienced this kind of family closeness.
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