Summary: A challenge to invest four key traits into the life of one person this year.
When I was a Children’s Pastor I used to do something at the beginning of training seminars that I want us to do this morning. I want you to think back to your childhood and specifically to your early church experience. I know many of you attended Sunday School, VBS and other children’s activities as a child. If church attendance was not part of your childhood life then think about the elementary school you attended.
Now do this. Identify in your mind one or two memories that really stand out from all others in your childhood, whether good or bad. What is it that you remember the most about going to church or attending school? Now let’s do a quick survey.
• Raise your hand if you remember a craft that changed your life? Crafts can be fun and cool but rarely are they life changing.
• Raise your hand if you remember a particular Bible story or lesson from school that forever touched you? Again, these are important but are not what we tend to remember.
• Raise your hand if you recall a special event or field trip that was a top memory maker for you. Events, both good and bad, do play a significant role and often are when major life decisions are made. But I’m willing to bet that the last choice is the memory most of us have.
• Raise your hand if your most vivid memory was a person. It could have been a teacher or a pastor or a friend. It could have even been a bad teacher, pastor or friend. I have done this same survey with hundreds of people and I get the same response each time.
As we think about the defining moments of our life most often they center on a person. Ask me my story and I would tell you about Mrs. Snow who in the midst of a not so alive church painted vibrant pictures of hope for kids. And Mrs. Traylor who told me shortly after I came to Christ that God had a special purpose for my life and encouraged me to keep an eye out for it. And Coach Brittian who modeled Christ on the wrestling mat and off and who challenged a Senior in high school to remain faithful. These men and women were followed by others like Dr. Jim Allman who passed on to me a passion for the Bible and Jack Fooks who has taught me more about life, God and leadership than anyone else. My life is full of people who invested something valuable into my life. People who gave me something that has become a part of who I am. I would like to believe that this is true in your life as well.
The realization that much of who we are is the result of the investment of others is what the message is all about. This morning we are going to be looking at 2 Timothy 1:15 – 2:13 so please open your Bible to that passage. As you do so I want to lay a challenge before you and then ask you a question. The challenge first: we have already agreed that our lives represent the investment of many people. So…….what life are you investing into today? What person are you making a difference in? Does someone come quickly to mind? I hope so. In fact, I want you to take out your message notes and write the first name of the person whom you are going to invest in at the top. Maybe this is someone you are already investing in or perhaps it is someone God has put on your heart but you have not yet responded to.
This challenge is the same one Paul gave Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:2. “And the things your have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” Let memorize this verse this week.
This verse is a good summary of Paul’s whole message to Timothy. You were entrusted with a mission to multiple yourself…so complete the mission. Timothy was wavering and Paul is directly calling him to finish his job; to complete his mission.
Notice the flow of what Paul is saying. The teaching of Christ had been passed from Christ to Paul. Next Paul passed them to Timothy. Timothy is then to entrust them to other faithful men who in turn will complete the cycle and entrust them to others.
Many years ago my wife and I had the joy of vacationing in Hawaii. There we discovered a tree that grows in the tropics called a Banyan Tree. One person said this about the banyan tree. "There is... a tree whose property it is to plant itself. It spreads out mighty arms to the earth, where in the space of a single year the arms take root and put forth anew." Pliny the Elder, A.D. 70