No one enters a race hoping to come in second. Runners run to win. Paul ran to win (2 Timothy 4:7-8). And he wanted the same for Timothy—for him to finish well. But how? Second Timothy 3:14–17 provides the answer.
Vision, integrity, articulation, courage, and a thick skin—all are the basic requirements for leadership. Other requirements could be added; for the follower of Christ, godliness is essential. Whether in government, business, education, ministry, or the home, these six traits form the foundation of successful Christian leadership. These qualities do not come through osmosis but through disciplined study and practice, often marked by failure. However, the greatest leaders are not deterred by hardship and failure. Theirs is a high calling with deep responsibility.
If you are in a position of leadership—and chances are good that you are—you may need to sharpen your vision for the future, strengthen your integrity, and find new sources of courage. Insight for Living, by introducing you to godly leaders of the past, is committed to encouraging you in this pursuit, as well as challenging you to grow in godliness.
Don’t be distracted by difficulties or hampered by hardships; don’t despair because you don’t have the highest IQ, the richest portfolio, or the finest pedigree. Rather, master a few great, majestic, unchanging, simple, glorious truths—and be mastered by them.
We’re no longer shocked and outraged by human depravity. Perhaps that’s why the Bible sometimes backs up the truck and unloads a descriptive deluge of indecency on us. That’s exactly what we get in 2 Timothy 3:1-9.
Character is no longer king; our culture champions competency. Scripture, however, champions character. So, for those of us who wish to lead in a Christian manner, character must always trump competency. That’s the message of the last seven verses 2 Timothy 2.
Words are powerful things. With them, we can lead people to life-freeing truth or life-imprisoning falsehood. That’s why Paul was concerned about certain men in the church who had “gone astray from the truth” (2 Timothy 2:18).
Timothy ministered in Ephesus, some 830 miles to the southeast. Ministry was troublesome. Heretical hounds barked and bit. And the naturally reserved Timothy had grown weary and timid. A few tender words from his mentor were just the boost of confidence and courage the young pastor needed.
If you’re currently employed or were once engaged in the workforce, you understand what it means to answer to someone in authority over you. Since that’s true, you need no convincing of the value of a great boss…one who is caring, equitable, and respectful.
What I saw missing from my ministry was balance. While it was important for me to be there when someone needed me, it was also important for me to spend time alone with God because I needed Him.
It is virtually impossible to separate truth from the one who teaches it to us. That's why James begins the third chapter with a warning—don't swell the ranks of teachers!