A weekly reflection from a member of the Hastings clergy By Laura Stierman, Director of Evangelization, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
Pass it on It’s been an interesting month, spending significant time in Arizona and Minnesota, caring for a wide variety of folks, and reading slowly through a couple of pastoral letters that Paul wrote to his long-time companion and now new pastor, Timothy. There is some really good advice in these two letters (1 and 2 Timothy) but my mind keeps coming back to one thing: weightlifting. Yep. I have a colleague who lifts on a regular basis and I asked him about how to go about getting my Dad a little more strength. He said that when he injured his shoulder, rehab was going back to the basics, doing stand-up push-ups against a wall. Super simple. Yet effective. Which, naturally, got me thinking about the spiritual life, because there are some lessons here. You see, one of the first things Paul tells the young Timothy is to be “be strong” in his conviction to Jesus (2 Timothy 2:1). And I paused and pondered here, because “being strong” requires no little work, passion, perseverance, and fortitude. If you want to be strong, you have to work at it. Little by little, each day. What might that have looked like for Timothy?
Timothy was the son of Greek gentile and Jewish mother who believed in Jesus, and grew up in a town not unlike Hastings. Paul met Timothy during his second missionary journey, as Timothy had a great reputation. He eventually joined Silas as Paul's companion and missionary partner, going town to town strengthening faith communities (Acts 16: 1-4). I imagine Timothy listening and watching Paul at work, and praying and pondering alongside the master evangelist. A little insight here, a deeper prayer there, and perhaps a preaching stint that exceeded expectations. Slowly but surely, Timothy was learning how to be a better man, a better Christian, and therefore, a better evangelist. Spiritual weightlifting, as it were. And when the time came, in Ephesus, Timothy became a preacher of Jesus in his own right (1 Timothy 1:3).
What about you? How is your spiritual weightlifting going? Reading your Bible, talking about life choices with other Christians, laying it all out for the Lord? Accepting the grace and mercy He has to offer exactly where you are… then going deeper? No matter where you are, the Lord is always ready to be your companion, helping you grow stronger each day. Start simple, and add a little something each day. Slow and steady. And all of a sudden, the Lord may turn to you as Paul turned to Timothy and say, “You then, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, that what you have heard from me, through many witnesses, entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well.” (2 Timothy 2:1). And together we can change the world. That my friends, would be a little good news. #passiton