Busy week? Me too. LDSLiving is here to catch you up and get you ready for discussions on Sunday. Here’s a nugget of wisdom from this week’s Come, Follow Me study of the letters of Paul to his friends Timothy, Titus, and Philemon.
Understanding the audience is key to understanding Paul’s letters. In previous weeks we have discussed his words to areas he served in his missionary journeys. He wrote to groups of saints that shared common struggles. Now in 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, Paul is writing to his former companions and friends. And here we have some excellent one-on-one encouragement that we can relate to. Instead of an area authority speaking to thousands at stake conference, we are getting a peak into personal missionary letters. It can be a more relatable way to see things as we put ourselves in the shoes of Timothy in one of my favorite bible verses.
Young Bishop Timothy
I was a youth in the church when Thomas S. Monson was our prophet. He had a memorable and kind way of speaking and even now when I’m reading his messages, I can hear them in his voice. President Monson would often share stories of serving as a bishop in Utah when he was 22, going to Canada as a mission president at 31, or his years of service in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles starting when he was 53. When you’re a deacon with a weirdly tucked-in shirt and too-big tie trying to master the routes for passing the sacrament, 22 seems plenty old to be a bishop. And 31 might as well be 50. But then you grow up, and the day you turn 23 you start thinking the 22-year-olds in the ward are a little immature.
President Monson was unprecedentedly young in his church service for our modern age but not in the whole history of the church. The Timothy that Paul wrote his letters to was estimated by scholars to be in his 30s when he was called to be bishop. And serving in the church at that young age must have come with its own set of problems because Paul addressed it in his first letter.
1 Timothy 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
This could be our youth theme every year. And the YSAs could very well adopt it too. Don’t let anyone look down on the testimony you have just because you are young. And although Paul probably didn’t mean this way, we shouldn’t despise our own youth either. He reminds us in the following verses to “not neglect the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.” If you’ve been called and set apart for work in the kingdom, you have the power of God behind you. Have some confidence in that!
There is a place for everyone to serve in the church. The recent changes to allow for YSAs to be called in stake committees and bishoprics is an example of that working today. Anyone, of any age or life experience, can be an example of the believers. Don’t let anyone, or yourself, get you down about what you can offer.
Sunday on Monday is a Come, Follow Me podcast hosted by Tammy Uzelac Hall that is released every Monday to guide you through the scripture readings for the week. This week covers the books of 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, and our podcast guests were Sharmaine Howell and Stacey Shaw. You can listen to full episodes on Deseret Bookshelf Plus and find out more at ldsliving.com/sundayonmonday.