Saying the Hard Stuff

Sometimes we have to deliver an unwelcome message.

One of the first pastors of the church in Ephesus, Timothy, apparently didn't like the hard stuff side of ministry. And that worried his mentor, Paul, considerably and explains much of the content of the two letters written to Timothy in the New Testament.

Ephesus was a tough city, and the Ephesian Christians were tough people—many of them freshly converted out of unspeakably dark spiritual conditions. My suspicion is that Timothy found Ephesus and its Christians a bit more than he could handle and wanted out. Perhaps that explains why Paul begins the correspondence by saying, "Stay there!"

Timothy was, apparently, a nice and gentle young man. "I have no one like him," Paul wrote the Philippians, "who will so naturally care for you." Quite a compliment.

But he seemed to struggle with hard stuff. I'm talking about the kind of preaching and discipling that exposes errant belief, sinful attitudes, and ungodly behavior. hard stuff: calling people to ...

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