By Andrew Colpitts
Whenever I read 2 Timothy, I can’t help but reflect on the amazing grace of God to give Timothy a mentor as wise and loving as Paul. All throughout the book, Paul uses his own words and life as an example for Timothy to closely follow, and yet he always roots his example in Christ. “Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim 1:13). When I read that verse, I see the perfect model of mentorship: a godly person using their own gifts and experience to point someone completely and wholeheartedly to Christ. This is what I strive to be and this is something that I’ve been blessed enough to receive from some godly men in my life.
As I remember the great mentor relationships I’ve been involved in, one theme permeates them all: suffering. “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” (2 Tim 1:8). The most influential men in my life have been the ones who have shared their sufferings for the gospel with me and have counted my sufferings as their own.
When I say that they shared their sufferings with me, I don’t mean to say that they made me to suffer and distress. I mean that they showed me the power of the Christ in the midst of their suffering and indescribable peace and joy that comes through faith in Christ.
So what does that look like? 2 Timothy 1:9-12a paints a good picture: “[…God,] 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, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do.” The best mentors I’ve had have continually and steadfastly pointed me to the reality of the gospel. In the midst of suffering and in the midst of prosperity, the gospel is the foundation of the Christian life. I pray that I will always cling to the power of the gospel and seek to point others to it for the rest of my life.