1 Corinthians 16:10-16
Now if Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he works the work of the Lord, as I also do.…
We are reminded —
I. THAT HUMAN PLANS AND PURPOSES ARE FRAUGHT WITH CONTINGENCY. "If Timotheus come." Uncertainty is an important factor in human calculations.
1. Even Paul could not project his plans into the future positively.
(1) The Macedonian cry of some more needy Church might be heard; new doors constantly opening, fresh emergencies might arise.
(2) Fiery persecutions were rife, the murderer's hand might smite, bonds and imprisonment might hold.
(3) Escaping all these, death was still on his track — accident or disease might prevent. Paul was wise in saying, "If he come."
2. So you are expecting your Timotheus, my successor. Do not forget the extent and variety of the interests to be looked after, or the contingencies that may arise in adjusting the many claims. The cause you are interested in is God's, so are the men. Let not your over-anxiety fence Him off from having a hand in selecting your pastor.
II. OF THE STATE OF MIND ESSENTIAL TO MINISTERIAL SUCCESS. "With you without fear." Paul wanted this young man to start off well on his new charge. He who is not "without fear" is in bad company. He lets rooms, or, rather, helplessly admits an enemy who ties him hand and foot, and robs him of happiness and success. Every man "who is a shepherd, and not an hireling," will have a natural fear or timidity in taking charge of an important Church. You have the power to confirm or remove this feeling. It is with our people to swing us out into the tropics, or create a winter about us, and — oh, how cold it feels!
III. OF THE DUTY OF THE CHURCH IN THIS IMPORTANT MATTER. "See that he," etc., etc., make it your business. Take pains to let him know that he is appreciated, and has your goodwill and co-operation. Banish the insulting suspicion that you might make him proud if you told him you like his sermons. If such be the case, have the honesty to let him know it. If he be a man of God it will make him a better preacher and more humble. "Now if Timotheus come, see that" —
1. You do not, by needlessly eulogising your former pastor, produce in his mind the fear that he will never be able to fill "the aching void."
2. You do not, by needlessly unkind criticism, and fault-finding references to your former pastors, produce in him the "fear" that he is among an unkind, fault-finding people; and that, possibly in a few mouths, they may be equally bitter against himself. Do not be in too great a hurry to weigh "Timotheus, if he come"; give him a chance. When you do weigh him, put him on a decent scale, and not one that weighs everything on a sharp hook. See that he is without fear when you put him on the scales; if fear go on with him, he will not register half his weight or worth.
IV. THAT GOD'S FAITHFUL MINISTERS ARE ALL MEN OF ONE WORK. "He worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do." He in his way, I in mine. Sanctified individuality is the great want of the times. Every man has his own mission, and, sanctified to God and duty, he can do a work which no other being on earth can do as well. Better wield the simple sling of David than the cumbersome armour of Saul.
Parallel VersesKJV: Now if Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do.