Summary: Paul told Timothy to be an example in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity. As Christians we need to be setting a good positive example in each of these 5 important areas.
Like many children, Billy didn’t like to study, and would much rather go outside and play baseball after school rather than doing his homework. Unfortunately that meant his grades suffered, and he even failed math. His parents tried everything they could to get him to do better in math, but he continued to fail. They got him a fun computer game that was supposed to make learning math fun. They hired someone to Tudor him but nothing seemed to work. They didn’t know what to do. Finally one of their friends suggested that they try putting him into a private parochial school. They thought about it for a few days, and decided to give it a try. So they took him across town and enrolled him in the small Catholic School. They were shocked that afternoon when Billy came home and went straight to his room, closed the door, and immediately started working on his math homework. His mother had to almost force him to come down for dinner, and then after supper, he went right back up to his room and studied some more. Several weeks later he brought his report card home and laid it on the kitchen table for his parents to see. When his mother read it, she was amazed to see that he had gotten an "A" in math. She asked him about it. She wanted to know what had made such a dramatic difference in his grade. She asked him if it was the teachers, or the kind of books that they were using, but he just shook his head and said "no." Then she looked him in the eye and said, well would you please tell me why your math grade has improved so dramatically. He said, well the first day I walked into math class I looked up on the wall, and saw a man nailed to a huge plus sign, and I realized that they were serious about math and that I was going to have to quit fooling around."
I. I. FIRST OF ALL, PAUL ENCOURAGED TIMOTHY TO BE A GOOD EXAMPLE IN HIS SPEECH
III. So boys and girls, and young people, when you’re at school this week, and you’re tempted to make fun of someone, or say something ugly about them, or spread a nasty rumor about them, don’t do it. I hope you’ll remember Paul’s advice to Timothy to set a good example in what you say, and how you say it. I personally believe people should be able to tell that you are Christian by simply listening to what you have to say, and how you say it.
II. NEXT, PAUL TOLD TIMOTHY TO SET A GOOD EXAMPLE IN LIFE.
A man named Earl Palmer, tells in his book entitled the Enormous Exception, the story of a PRE-MED student at the University of California, at Berkeley, who became a Christian after a long spiritual journey, which included many doubts and questions. When Palmer asked the young man why he had become a believer, he answered by saying the thing that had influenced him the most was not the Bible, or a great Christian book, or even a sermon that he heard at church. Instead this young man pointed to the actions of a classmate who happened to be a Christian. It seems that this young Pre-Med student had gotten a bad case of the flu and had missed 10 days of classes the previous Semester. His Christian friend took it upon himself to pick up all of his assignments and devoted several days to helping him get caught up. The pre-med student told Palmer, ‘You know that kind of thing just isn’t done. I wanted to know what made this guy act the way he did. I even found myself asking if I could go to church with him.’ I hope you remember that story, and do your best to set a good Christian example by the way you live, the things you do, and the way you treat other people....
IV. NEXT, PAUL ENCOURAGED TIMOTHY TO BE AN EXAMPLE IN LOVE.
Which reminds me of a story about a 4th grade teacher named Miss Thompson, and a boy named Teddy Stallard. Teddy wasn’t one of her best students; in fact he was one of the worst. Not only was he slow but he gave her no reason to believe that he cared whether he passed or failed. Which was why it didn’t seem to bother her at all to mark his papers with a Big Fat Red “F.” The other students made it clear that they didn’t like Teddy, and Miss Thompson had to admit that she didn’t like Teddy much either. But then she found out that Teddy’s mother had died the year before and that his father didn’t seem to be very supportive or even interested in him. Her attitude toward Teddy began to change. Now she understood why he acted the way he did. She felt sorry for him but didn’t know what she could do. Just before Christmas break many of the children; including Teddy brought her Christmas gifts. Most of the gifts were very neatly wrapped in beautiful wrapping paper, but Teddy had simply wrapped his gift in a brown paper sack that was loosely held together with tape. She opened it to find a bracelet with several of the stones missing and half of a bottle of very cheap perfume. Some of the children laughed and made cruel remarks but trying to be nice she slipped the bracelet on and after putting some of the perfume on she made a comment about how good it smelled. When school was over instead of rushing out like he usually did Teddy lingered behind and came over to her desk and said, “Miss Thompson, you smell just like my mother, and her bracelet looks real pretty on you too. I’m glad you liked my presents’ That night she went home and asked God to forgive her for how she had treated little Teddy. When Christmas Break was over her class had a new teacher, with a new attitude and a new mission in life. Miss Thompson no longer just considered herself to be a teacher whose main responsibility was to pass or fail her students based on their performance. She now considered herself to be a teacher and a servant of God, whose main responsibility was to love her students and make a difference in their lives. She made a commitment to herself and more importantly to God to do a better job of loving her students, especially Teddy Stallard. Before long Teddy began to show dramatic improvement and by the end of the year he had caught up with most of the other students. Teddy transferred to another school the following year and Miss Thompson didn’t hear from him for several years. Then one day she received a note that said; ‘Dear Miss Thompson. I wanted you to know that I will be graduating second in my high school class’ Love Teddy Stallard. Four years later she received another note which said: ‘Dear Miss Thompson: They just told me I would be graduating first in my class. I wanted you to be the first to know. The university has not been easy but I liked it. Love, Teddy Stallard. Finally a few years later she received this note: Dear Miss Thompson: As of today I am Theodore Stallard, MD. How about that? I wanted you to be the first to know. He went on to tell her that he was getting married the next month and that his father had died the previous year. Then he asked her to come to the wedding and sit where his mother would have been seated if she had been alive. She went to the wedding and in Teddy’s eyes she had earned the right to sit in such a special place because as an agent of God’s love she had done something for Teddy that he would never forget. She had loved him in a way that no-one except maybe his own mother ever had.