I have not seen the Godfather, but I have heard that it has a great scene where the departing patriarch of the family mob gives the heir apparent the low-down on how to run the business. Paul was not a mob boss, and Timothy was not expected to manage all the churches he had planted, but 2 Timothy 1 reminded me of this idea of passing on the mantle.
There is a lot to unpack:
“3 I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day.”
Why would Paul bring up ancestors? He seems to have set aside his identity as a Jew in favor of being a Christian. But he did not forget his history…he remembered all the times in history that the people of God were persecuted, especially the prophets and those who called people to account. So it was a legacy that he had carried on and was now giving Timothy.
“5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. 6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,“
Timothy was not a Jew, but he had a family history of faith as well. Had he forgotten it? Was he laying low after Paul’s arrest and sentence? Paul called him to come out and be bold with the faith. God gave grace and power for this holy calling, this best of inheritances, this mantle of the faith. Because alone, yes, you would cower. But…
“14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.”
The Holy Spirit is with those God has adopted as children. So for Timothy, and all of us, the rough road is not the end of the journey. God has given us what we need to cash in on all that He has planned for us. And it starts as we learn from those who have gone before and carry on the legacy of faith.
What is your legacy?
God, thank You for Paul’s “Godfather” talk to Timothy to encourage him to carry on the mantle of faith. And I struggle with the same thing today – do I live in the shadows or boldly show my faith? God, it is going to get harder as people want to hear about Your guidelines and commands less and less. Please help me to carry on this legacy and not be focused on here, but on the end-goal: Your heavenly kingdom! And to pass it on to others. Thank You, God, for providing the strength and grace for each day. To Your glory, Amen.