Paul, Barnabas & Timothy

Maybe you’re wondering what these three names have in common, or how I’m going to write one post that deals with these very different men.  Well, here goes.  I once read that every Christian needs three kinds of people to help them mature in their faith.  They need a Paul,  a Barnabas and a Timothy.

Your Paul is a person who mentors you;  someone who is older, or who has been a Christian longer and can guide you in making wise decisions.  For many years my Paul was my Pastor.  We met regularly and talked about what I was studying, my prayer life and ways I could serve.  He always encouraged me to stretch a little and gave me suggestions.

“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”  1 Corinthians 11:1

Your Barnabas is a spiritual friend and equal;  a person who walks by your side.  I’ve blogged about my friend, Nancy.  She has filled this role for me for many years now.  My reunion group sisters fall into this category as well.  These are the people who listen to me, pray for me, and support me.

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”  Proverbs 27:17

A Timothy is somebody you can teach.  I hope that my daughters and my granddaughter feel they have learned something about being a Christian from my example, imperfect as it is.  I actually think of myself as a rather “teachy” person, and I love nothing more than passing on whatever knowledge and understanding I have to others.  I see the Lutheran Ladies Connection as just one opportunity to do this.

“Only take heed, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen, lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life;  make them known to your children and your children’s children …” Deuteronomy 4:9-10

How about you?  Do you have at least one Paul, Barnabas and Timothy?

Use It or Lose It

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”  2 Timothy 3:17

God’s word is meant to be used.  Think about it.  It’s not just ancient history, or beautiful poetic language. It’s not a philosophy that you can decide to take or leave.  It has a purpose, an important purpose.  Reading and listening to God’s word trains us to be better people, shows us what we need to change and prepares us to do His work in the world.

Do you read the Bible this way? Do you meditate on it daily?  Do you take the words of the Sunday sermon to heart? Do you realize that the Bible is God’s love letter to you, today? Or do you take it for granted?

At a Via de Cristo retreat one of the things we learn is to take time with a group of other Christians to evaluate our spiritual lives.  I’m in such a group and here are some of the questions we ask each other every time we meet:

What have you studied this week to better understand Jesus Christ and His mystical body, the church?

What was the most helpful Spiritual insight from your study?

What will be your plan for next week to enrich your study?

I try to ask myself these questions regularly.  It helps me think about and understand where God is leading me.  If I don’t do this, chances are I’ll miss an opportunity to grow and learn in my faith.  What about you?  How have you used God’s Word this week?