I Timothy 6:11 “But you, man of God, flee from all this and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.”
What is a prestigious title worth? If it’s “World Champion Athlete” of some sort, it may be worth millions of dollars in endorsements. If it’s “President of the United States,” it’s worth unequaled power among world leaders. If it’s “Supreme Court Justice,” it’s worth the most respected position in America. If it’s “God’s man,” it’s worth all the treasures of heaven.
That’s what Timothy was. Paul addresses him, “…you, man of God…” Timothy was a man of God. He was God’s man. The Lord had claimed him as his very own. Timothy was not just an obscure half-Jewish, half-Greek man from the city of Lystra. He was a prominent member of God’s family, someone whom the Lord himself was not embarrassed to identify with.
Timothy didn’t get that way by displaying superior talent, or winning an election, or working his way to the top. It came to him by grace. It was not the result of his long years of faithful service as an assistant missionary to Paul, and then a parish pastor. Already as a little boy his mother and grandmother told him the Bible stories and taught him the Bible promises which kindled faith in his little heart. When Jesus gave his life for the sins of the world on the cross, his blood washed away all Timothy’s sins, too. Timothy was God’s man simply because God had chosen to love him.
You and I are God’s men and women, and we are God’s people for exactly the same reason Timothy was. We are more than a group of little known accountants and pilots and salesmen and teachers and handymen and homemakers and students and doctors and dentists and cashiers and retirees. We are God’s own blood bought and blood washed people. That identity is one worth prizing. Everyone of us, from the youngest to the oldest, is a prominent member of God’s family. As members of the family we all stand to inherit and share the family fortune. As people of God we already live every day as people God treasures and cares for. The very title–man, woman, child of God–sets us apart from those who chase only riches and promises that the riches of the true God are ours!
As God’s own we “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.” There is a whole sermon series in this list. Let’s note two things. First, we live as God’s people by running after his commandments. We will never find the riches of heaven in our imperfect keeping of God’s commands. But we can still find gifts for our lives right now. It’s been said, “When you keep the commandments, the commandments keep you.” That’s not a promise of an earthly life free from trouble, but we avoid inviting additional trouble into our lives when do the things God asks of us.
Then, God’s people also run after those things that maintain our relationship with him, things like faith and endurance. This isn’t a “do-it-yourself” project. The Lord is ultimately the one who maintains them. But the more we hear his word, the more we receive his sacrament, the more we flee to God and find him in these gifts, the stronger our faith and the longer we will endure. This is how our Lord keeps us as God’s men, women, and children to the very end.
There is no title more worth keeping.