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You can do this

The latest column by Tim Pippus.
bridge, achievement, challenge
You can do this.

Timothy had one job. He was to stay in the city of Ephesus so that he could teach and help organize the church there.

Timothy also had one big problem. He had no leverage. He could not make people listen to him or do anything. The church, after all, is essentially a volunteer organization. Additionally, Timothy was young, so it was easy to ignore him. 

Do you know that feeling? You want to help and direct people to the answers they need, yet you have no way of making them listen or do what is best. 

In cases like this, we often resort to the wrong methods. For example, we try to guilt people into doing what we think they ought to do. Maybe we get angry and try to bully them into the response we want. Sometimes when people do not listen, we try to teach them a lesson by isolating them and treating them as if they do not exist. I have seen each of those situations play out in families and the church and they never end well.  

What can we do?

We can do what Timothy did.

We can set an example. “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). 

Examples are much more powerful than we realize. 

You speak the language you do, not because your brain was wired to think in those words, but because that language was the example that you copied. In math class, before you tackled a new equation, you were given a sample question as an example of how it was to be done. These days, when anyone wants to learn anything, they go to YouTube and watch a video, because examples are instructive.

One of the ways Jesus taught us what faith looks like is that he came here and lived an example of it.

You may not be able to make anyone do anything, but you can show them something better.

 “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).