One of my favourite quotes on leadership is from Bill George in his book, True North. He writes, “The role of the leader is not to get other people to follow them but to empower others to lead.”
I love that idea of empowering or releasing another to find their God given potential.
On his first missionary journey the apostle Paul encounters a young man by the name of Timothy at a place called Lystra. He is the child of a mixed marriage, with a Jewish mother and a Greek father. He is young. He is timid. He does not have the family pedigree or training like Paul. Yet Paul sees something in him. He dares to believe that God has something special in mind for this young man.
Believing this he brings Timothy with him on his journeys, to places like Corinth, Jerusalem and Ephesus. He also releases him to special assignments, whether that be going Thessalonica to encourage the persecuted church there, or off to Macedonia, or as in 1 Timothy where he is sent off to Ephesus to continue the work Paul was doing there.
Paul affirms, encourages and ultimately seeks to release Timothy to not be defined by his past, or by how others have seen him, but to be defined by how God sees him.
He understands God has given Timothy gifts which ought to be used, both for the sake of Timothy and for the benefit of others. Like all gifts that are given to us, they are to be used so that we might know the full life which God has in store for us, and also so that we can serve others, build the church and honour God.
So, when we understand the power in releasing someone like Timothy, the question is no longer why does Paul do this? Perhaps the question is why don’t we seek to release more Timothys?