The studier of 1 Timothy can glean many leadership principles by looking at how Paul instructs and encourages Timothy in his ministry in the Ephesian church. The one that stands out to me is Paul’s encouragement to Timothy to set the example in the church. It is not surprising to me that Paul would instruct Timothy in this. After all, Paul often called the churches to imitate himself as he imitates Christ. What challenged me was the dedication or commitment that Paul asked of Timothy in this. Paul tells Timothy to “immerse yourself”(ESV) in this. Other translations say “throw yourself into your tasks”(NLT) or “give yourself wholly to them”(NIV). What Paul is asking of Timothy is a whole-hearted commitment to his ministry and to setting an example for the church.
Half-hearted commitment is not enough. If Timothy had a half-hearted commitment to his ministry and the call to set an example, the church would slowly suffer and die. The challenges of dealing with false teaching and sin in the church would overcome a half-hearted commitment. A whole-hearted commitment would mean giving himself completely to the task of setting the example. It demanded of him a greater standard and meant that Timothy had to lead the way in the pursuit of spiritual growth.
So often I am satisfied with only the half-hearted. I think “this will be good enough, God’s grace will cover the rest”. I think that I can compromise in this one area and it will be okay. While God is merciful, He is worthy of so much more. His holiness demands more, his grace demands more, and the salvation that he’s bought for me demands more. He asks for all of me, for whole-hearted commitment to him, to the ministry he has given me and to setting the example for others. This means I can’t just float through each day with little thought to what I do. It calls for intentional pursuit of growth in relationship with Jesus and in godliness.
I must ask myself, “have I made a whole-hearted commitment to the ministry God’s called me to?” I find myself calling out to God and asking for his help to make this kind of commitment and to give my whole self to him. He is worthy of all of me!