Week 33: First of All

Today’s Text: First Timothy 1-3

Key Text: First Timothy 2:1-2

“First of all then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all those who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”

It’s an extraordinary little letter.

The apostle Paul, writing to his young associate Timothy, in order to instruct and encourage him in his ministry, begins to set things in order.

Even though he has known what it is to be a prisoner, and will again, ultimately being executed for his faith, he writes with great humility and patience. He wants Timothy to get it right from the very beginning. He warns of the danger that lurks about in the form of false teachers – those who have “wandered away into vain discussion,” and whom Timothy must not follow.

He gives thanks Christ who “has given me strength” to meet all that he has and all that he will.

And he puts it quite plainly.

“First of all, then,” he writes, “I urge…”

What does he urge?

That this young minister and his congregation be in prayer “for all people” and especially for those in “high positions.”

He could have urged a lot more than that.

He could have told Timothy to take up the cause of a zealot or spew forth sermons filled with vindictive judgment. He could have wailed about his dilemma and his coming fate. He could have whined. He could have been bitter and hateful and…well, you get the picture.

Instead, one man of God urges another man of God to join his congregation and “lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling” go about the important work of the kingdom.

We could take a lesson out of that book for today, couldn’t we?

We can learn much about waging spiritual warfare in the right way.

We live in a world where hateful speech and violent action grabs all the attention.

Perhaps it has always been that way.

We, however, are called to another way – another Way.

So, first things first.

Pray. Wait. Listen. Then act, in that order.

Ultimately, it will make all the difference in the world.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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