Have you ever seen a copy of the book, Mrs. Dunwoody’s Excellent Instructions for Homekeeping – Timeless Wisdom and Practical Advice by Miriam Lukken? This book is filled with practical advice and instruction for daily chores, recipes, entertaining, and garden work from 100 years ago. As I flip through the pages, I am reminded of my Aunt Milly from Lancaster County, PA. Her Mennonite background taught her many practical skills for organizing and running her home well. I learned much from my aunt and benefited greatly from her wisdom, instruction, and example in my life.
Timothy was a spiritual son to the apostle Paul. He had left Timothy to oversee the churches in Ephesus and Asia Minor. Paul’s two letters to Timothy (and the book of Titus) are referred to as the “pastoral epistles” because each letter provides practical guidelines and instruction for the church. As he writes the first letter, he longs to return to Ephesus and visit Timothy. But a few years later when he pens his final letter to Timothy, Paul realizes that his time on this earth is quickly drawing to an end. He is sitting in a cold dungeon, facing his death. Paul knows there is great danger during Nero’s rule and his persecution of Christians.
Paul gives written instruction for church worship, leadership, false teaching, and personal relationships with others in the church. Read these pastoral letters carefully and identify areas where the Lord might be calling you to grow as a child of God.
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” ~1 Timothy 2:1-4
In the second letter to Timothy, readers can sense a very personal manuscript (see 1:2 – my beloved child). Paul shares examples of character for one of Christ’s soldiers – share in suffering (2:3), competes according to the rules (2:5), rightly handling the word of truth (2:15), set apart as holy (2:21), pursue righteousness (2:22), and be kind to everyone (2:24).
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” ~2 Timothy 3:16, 17
Paul’s closing words to the church are for God’s gracious work to continue in their lives. And, may the favor of God – His grace – be with you. The Lord has provided instruction and practical guidelines for us to implement into our daily lives. As we walk with the Lord and grow in godly character, I pray that we will study His Word faithfully and God’s favor will be with each one of us.