by the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird
On April 12, 2005, I was feeling rather fragile in the midst of helping others work through all the trauma and loss around our congregation’s pending eviction.
While I was working out at our local Parkgate Gym, Bonnie Chatwin a very gifted Pastoral Counsellor phoned me by cell phone. She cautioned me against falling into the ‘bait of Satan’ , that of taking offense, resulting in unforgiveness and bitterness. And she poured into me excerpts from Paul’s epistles to Timothy: words that were to become the skeleton of my award-winning book “Battle for the Soul of Canada”.
1 Timothy 1: Warning against false teachers
2 Timothy 1:8: Do not be ashamed
2 Timothy 1:12 I am not ashamed
2 Timothy 1:14 Guard the Deposit
2 Timothy 2:1 Be strong in the grace…endure hardship
2 Timothy 2:15 A Workman that does not need to be ashamed
2 Timothy 2:24 The Lord’s servant must not quarrel
2 Timothy 3:5 Have nothing to do with them.
2 Timothy 3:10 Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
2 Timothy 4:2 I give you this charge
2 Timothy 4:3 The time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine
Bonnie Chatwin said to me:
“You are going through a prophetic commissioning. It’s a process, standing, enduring, getting through, not focusing on the visible results with the eye. Take on an attitude of humility, grace, but also of courage and strength. Do not take personal offense, or you will be taken out. There is no use arguing with your oppressors. You have been stripped of a crown of glory as an Anglican priest, now wearing a crown of thorns, one with Christ. You need to express an attitude of gratitude and embrace the counselor/the Holy Spirit, admitting your helplessness. You are not rebelling against authority, but rather just standing firm.”
Out of that prophetic encounter, I became convinced once again that Christian values lie at the very foundation of our nation, that the key to renewing the soul of Canada- the heart of my new book- is to be found in raising up Timothys, raising up the emerging generation of leaders.
Who was Timothy? What do we know about him? Timothy was Paul’s irreplacable right-hand man sent into impossible circumstances to re-establish healthy foundations. To the troubled Corinthians, Paul said: “For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.”(1 Corinthians 4:17) Listen to what Paul said to the Phillipians: “For this reason I am sending Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. I have no one else like (Timothy), who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.”(2:20-21)
How the local city church treated Timothy determined how healthy they would be in their future. Timothy, being naturally shy, could easily be put off by inhospitality. Paul, as his mentor and spiritual father, fought for his acceptance: “If Timothy comes, see to it that he has nothing to fear while he is with you, for he is carrying on the work of the Lord, just as I am. No one, then, should refuse to accept him. Send him on his way in peace so that he may return to me. I am expecting him along with the brothers.” (1st Corinthians 16:10).
In many ways, Timothy has the personality profile of Canada: gentle, somewhat insecure, and easily rejected. Yet Paul saw that this unlikely individual had the potential to be a great leader, even to be the successor after Paul’s assassination by the Emperor Nero. Canada, and especially the Canadian Church, has the potential for great servant leadership throughout the nations. We can be God’s Timothys, if we will only humble ourselves before the Lord (2nd Chronicles 7:14 )
A genuine Timothy is someone who seeks first God’s Kingdom and his righteousness in this profoundly self-centered culture. A genuine Timothy is someone sold out for God, passionate, committed, and visionary. Paul knew that Timothys need to first be discovered and then raised up. Paul knew that Timothys are a rare breed (I have no one else like Timothy), but they can change a nation. Timothys need to first go through a time of testing and proving. Paul commented: “you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel.” (2:22)
During our 31 years at St. Simon’s North Vancouver (1987 to2018), we were privileged to mentor and raise up three Timothys for the Anglican priesthood (The Revs. Peter Falk, Ken Bell, and Josh Wilton). It takes time to raise up Timothys. Mushrooms grow overnight; Oak trees take longer.
Sometimes the Canadian Church has looked to committees to rescue Canada from its malaise. The Rev Sam Shoemaker commented, “Committees do not beget spiritual movements, any more than they beget babies. Inspired men beget them.” As one wag put it, God so loved the world that He didn’t send a committee!
My vision in the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada is to raise up and send Timothys all across our nation, and ultimately around the world for the healing of the nations. Paul said that he hoped to send Timothy soon. That is our passion and calling. That is the hope of our nation, to raise up Timothys to turn our nation back to God.
The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin
-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier
-award-winning author of the book ‘Battle for the Soul of Canada’
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