Tonight we are gathering to discuss 1 Thessalonians 3:1-4:12. In reading through this selection, pay particular attention to the role played by Timothy in Paul’s ministry. In Acts, we read that Timothy joined Paul at the very beginning of Paul’s second missionary journey (which is the journey that first takes him to Thessalonica). Acts 16:1-5. Throughout Paul’s letters, we see that Timothy is a partner in Paul’s ministry and that Paul uses Timothy as a troubleshooter and to follow up with the congregations Paul founded. We know that when Paul was chased out of Thessalonica, he left Timothy behind to complete his work. Acts 16:14. And later when the congregation needed additional assistance, Paul sent Timothy back to them. 1 Thess. 3:2. At other times, Paul sent Timothy to Corinth and to Philippi to correct and exhort those congregations as well. 1 Cor. 4:17, Phil 2:19. In his Ecclesiastical History, Eusebius tells us that Timothy survived Paul’s martyrdom in Rome and later became the first bishop of Ephesus. History, III.4.6.
As you read about Timothy in tonight’s readings, think about how your personal ministry looks like Timothy’s. Few of us are called, like Paul, to be apostles and to set up new congregations. However, all of us are called, at one time or another, to aid the ministry of someone else or to be a caretaker for a particular ministry or congregation. Therefore, think through those circumstances where you have been called upon to support someone else in their endeavors or to encourage a congregation or a particular Christian ministry.
Dinner is at 6:00. The menu tonight is low-country boil. Discussion about 6:45. Hope to see you here. Please bring a friend (and remember you don’t need to have read anything to join us).
Just and merciful God, in every generation you raise up prophets, teachers, and witnesses to summon the world to honor and praise your holy Name: We thank you for sending Timothy, Titus, and Silas, whose gifts built up your Church by the power of the Holy Spirit. Grant that we too may be living stones built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and forever. Amen.Collect for Timothy, Titus, and Silas, Companions of St. Paul