So, what do the names Lucy, Jack, Griffith, Bailey, Woodrow, Diesel, Vega, Greta, Gizmo, and Kootenai have in common?  Well first of all, they are all dogs, and ones that we have “adopted” as our special “friends.”  We have owned three dogs, including two big golden retrievers, but currently do not have our own dog. We just love up the neighbors’ dogs, and those on our walking route. We always carry some dog treats with us and share along the way. This past Friday and Saturday we “dog sat” for Woodrow, a cute Pomeranian that belongs to the hosts of our mid-week home Bible study, Jack and Betsy Myers who had to make a quick trip to eastern Montana for a funeral. Woodrow is always eager to have us come on Thursday nights because he can’t wait to jump up in Kathy’s lap and give her kisses. Then last night our grandson, Alec, from Albany, Oregon arrived to stay for a couple weeks and brought their big golden retriever, “Griff” with him. He was very excited to see us after a long, long truck ride! 

     So, what does all this have to do with anything of spiritual consequence?  Well, glad you asked. Probably for many of you, your family has grown and left home.  But there are lots of children and young people around who need spiritual mentors who will “adopt” them and care for them as if they were their own, being sort of their spiritual “God-parents” or “God-grandparents.”  We have a couple gals that we have been that to over the past years and they are very dear to us, and hopefully we have had–and continue to have–a positive spiritual influence in their lives.
     When we lived in the Portland, Oregon area where I worked as an engineer for Hyster Company, we were quite a ways away from our parents and  didn’t get to see them often so we “adopted” an older couple in our church, Paul and Daisy Brownlee, to be our children’s fill-in grandparents. They played a very important role in our children’s lives, and I’m sure our children brought some extra joy into their lives as well.
     We are not sure of the Apostle Paul’s family situation as to whether or not he was ever married and had any children. Some Bible scholars believe that to have been a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin, he had to have been married with children (cf Acts 26:10).  We just know that during his time as missionary/pastor, he was single (possibly a widower) as indicated by I Cor. 7:8.  But we also know that he had numerous “adopted” children, i.e., those whom he introduced to Christ and took under wing to nurture and disciple. One of them was young Timothy. We know that Timothy grew up with a godly mother and grandmother (II Tim. 1:5…Eunice and Lois) and learned the Scriptures from them (II Tim. 3:15), but apparently it was when Paul came through Lystra on his first missionary journey (Acts 14:1,5-7,19,20; 16:1-31) that Timothy came to Christ for salvation, for the apostle refers to him as his “true child in the faith” (I Tim. 1:2), and “my beloved son” (II Tim. 1:2).  Timothy joined Paul on his second and third missionary journeys. They shared life together, experiencing both the joy of ministry and the hardship of suffering for the gospel. After Paul’s third missionary journey, he instructed Timothy to stay in Ephesus and to care for the church there. Paul wrote letters to Timothy to encourage this young leader in his service to Christ and His church. We have the privilege to have as part of Scripture, these intimate personal letters from Paul to his spiritual son. In Paul’s final letter to Timothy, written from prison in Rome shortly before his death at the hands of Nero, Paul reminds Timothy that he is constantly praying for him and longed to see him (II Tim. 1:3,4). Paul invested in Timothy because he understood the critical need to pass on the torch, to leave a legacy that would continue for years to come. He was burdened to invest in leaders who would continue building Christ’s church long after his death. Timothy was just one on a long list of those that the Apostle Paul “adopted'” and mentored as if they were his own children.
     I encourage you, especially if your own children are grown and gone from home, that you “adopt” some children and grandchildren into whom you can pour your life and love, doing as the Apostle Paul did, to pass on the torch and to leave a lasting spiritual legacy for the upcoming generations.
                        Forever His,
                                    Pastor Dave

About Pastor Dave

Until my retirement 2 years ago, I pastored an independent Bible church in Northwest Montana for nearly 38 years. During that time I also helped establish a Christian school, and a Bible Camp. I am married and have children and grandchildren. The Wisdom of the Week devotional is an outgrowth of my desire to share what God is doing in my life and in our world, and to challenge you to be a part.
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