1 Tim. 4:12-14
Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership.
She knew that her time as the head of the dessert empire she started would end one day. But as retirement loomed and her tolerance for the pressure and the grind started to wane, she knew she had to get serious about assigning her replacement. She had her ideas of who would be right for the job, who would work as hard for the business as she had. Her approach was stealth, silently surveying each candidate without betraying her intentions. Eventually, she would see everything she needed to see to make her selection. However, before choosing her replacement, she would have to consult the board, the authority whose blessing would be required for this transition.
If we look at discipleship as God’s business, then we see that the purpose of the process is a transfer of power. It is the impartation from one operating in God’s authority to another. In making his decision to disciple Timothy, Paul did not simply select the person of his choice. A whole body of authority had to confirm this selection as the right one, and their authority had to come from God. The elders, a trusted spiritual body, engaged God for his choice and relayed that choice through prophecy. The selection of Timothy was not about Paul’s desire but God’s desire because it is God’s interest he would be advancing. Paul would rely not only on his discernment but that of the eldership to confirm that he had chosen God’s choice.
Discipleship is a matter of the Spirit and must be handled by the Spirit. God ordains these relationships for his purposes, so we must be sure to hear from him as we pursue these transfers of spiritual power. We can trust that He will guide us as He guided Paul and the eldership because these connections are according to his will. Timothy might have been knowledgeable, wise, well-respected and kind, but that would not have been enough to be Paul’s disciple. He needed to have God’s blessing and confirmation to take on this mantle. Father, open our eyes and ears to see and hear your direction in discipleship.