I weep when I think about my wounded preaching brothers. Most are men who were mighty in word and deed. Their godliness once shone bright in their wisdom, compassion, and sacrifice. I remain eternally grateful for the good they brought to my life and to the church.
Only God knows all the facts surrounding their “stepping down from ministry.” It is true that some of them brought their problems upon themselves, but they are in the minority. For the rest, it was probably “death by a thousand cuts.” Timothy, but for his faithfulness and Paul’s watchful eye, could easily have joined these brothers.
The church must look seriously to its part in raising up and sustaining faithful preachers.
There is nothing easy about it. To get behind the training and support of these men is to invite the devil into congregation and home alike. It is Satan’s business to make sure that the Gospel goes nowhere. His response to, “How will they preach unless they are sent?” (Romans 10:15), is, “Make sure that churches see no need to do so.”
No man is born a preacher. They must have: Faith, passion, training, and support.
In looking to the future, Paul told Timothy:
“The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2).
Timothy’s spiritual education and hands-on training was in the home, in the synagogue, in the church, and in the mission field.
Paul trusted Timothy enough to send him to the troubled Corinthian church. He wrote: “For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 4:17).
But knowing that the Corinthian church had divisive brethren who would happily ignore, bully, or manipulate Timothy, he ended his letter by saying:
“When Timothy comes, see to it that he has nothing to fear while he is with you, for he is carrying on the work of the Lord, just as I am” (1 Corinthians 16:10).
Timothy walked by Faith – May God use us to raise up a multitude like him.