Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Goal

“Now the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.” (1 Timothy 1:5 CSB)

When Paul left Ephesus after the riot, he left Timothy to remain there and serve as the pastor and leader of the Ephesian church. The church was experiencing some problems with some personalities who were intent on teaching some doctrines that were false. These doctrines had to do with myths and genealogies and the law. Timothy’s responsibility was to deal with these folks especially and command them to not teach such doctrines

Paul had a word of advice for Timothy with regard to his leadership in this effort. He told Timothy that the goal of the instructions he was giving to Timothy was love. “Agape” was to be central in all of this, and Paul wanted this love to spring forth from three launch pads: 1) a pure heart, 2) a good conscience, and 3) a sincere faith. He wanted to be sure that what Timothy was asked to do would be understood by those receiving Timothy’s leadership as having the highest of motives with the highest of goals.

At least one “take-away” we receive from this is that HOW we do something is at least as important as WHAT we do. That is true in communication as well. How we communicate is as important as what we communicate. If Timothy were to use heavy-handed tactics in accomplishing his task, the goal of love would not likely be reached. Timothy needed to understand the importance of positive and lofty motives, so that the goal of love could be reached. There was no guarantee that the goal would be reached, of course, but whether reached or not, Paul knew that accountability calls for leaders to carry out ministry from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith, because if motives are doubtful, the outcomes will also be in doubt. Having the possibility of achieving the highest goal is made all the more reasonable by having the highest of motives.

Lord, Help us today and each day to base all our actions and ministries on a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith as we attempt to bear witness to You in our world today. Amen.

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