Maybe Timothy had a tendency towards timidity. This was possibly hinted at in (6, 7). Paul told him not to be ashamed:
- Of ‘’the testimony about our Lord’’ (8a). It is a dangerous thing to preach the good news of Jesus (12a). It had landed Paul in prison (8b, 17). In the words of a book title, Christians are called to ‘’Risky Living’’. Anyone could be ashamed when they consider the potential cost;
- Of Paul himself ‘’his prisoner’’ (8b). If you live in a culture where certain of your fellow-Christians, or fellow-leaders in the church, are being imprisoned, it might seem easier to distance yourself from them. You could be putting yourself in danger if you stand by them. Paul knew what it was to be abandoned by many who fled ‘like rats from a sinking ship.’ ‘’I’m sure you know by now that everyone in the province of Asia deserted me…’’ The Message. But there was a man by the name of ‘’Onesiphorus’’ who was of a different order. He was someone who possessed a servant heart, and instead of giving Paul a ‘wide berth’ he actively sought him out. He wanted to identify with him and help him. So Paul was encouraging Timothy to follow in his footsteps, and not be like ‘’Phygelus and Hermogenes’’ and the rest. ‘’But God bless Onesiphorus and his family! Many’s the time I’ve been refreshed in that house. And he wasn’t embarrassed a bit that I was in jail. The first thing he did when he got to Rome was look me up. May God on the Last Day treat him as well as he treated me. And then there was all the help provided in Ephesus – but you know that better than I.’’ The Message.
In the call to be unashamed, Timothy had the example of Paul who was himself so courageous, in spite of all his sufferings (12). Paul would not ask of Timothy that which he was unprepared to give himself. He led by example.
We need to hear these words in our day. There are forces at work in society that would want to silence the church. We could easily be tempted to keep our heads down, to play it safe. May we never be ashamed of Jesus. If we own Him on earth, He’ll own us in heaven.
Prayer: At times I feel quite uneasy, and even scared on occasions, as I see the walls coming in. Help me Lord Jesus to be unembarrassed to say that I love you.