My Paul and Timothy

It’s become inevitable. When “Archie the screeching dog” gets his exercise, his big brother, “Bubba the chocolate lab”, accompanies him. Like me, Bubba can stand to do a little more walking. With his non-healing CCL injury and maturity (a nice way of saying he’s getting old), it’s not as easy as it used to be. For either of us. Still, Archie can’t explore the ranch without his guardian and mentor in tow.

While the two have been walking together with me for about a month, I can’t say I noticed before how my two boys have adopted a Paul and Timothy relationship. When either stops to smell something, the other must come and investigate. If Bubba investigates a ditch (remember, he’s my snake hunter), then Archie must do the same. Of course, I keep Archie on a very short leash whenever danger might be lurking. Both Bubba and I are constantly looking ahead to spot any dangers that the little guy is not aware of.

What struck me the other day was how Archie wants Bubba to lead during their walks these days. Archie seems most content to fall in alongside or behind Bubba as they walk. What amazed me is that when Archie wanders off the path to explore something, Bubba turns around and goes to Archie’s side. I want to think it’s because Bubba is his fierce protector, but the reality may be that Bubba wants to find out what Archie is doing. Like humans, dogs don’t want to miss out on the fun either. Watching them walk together brought to mind the relationship of Paul and Timothy described in the Bible. Perhaps the best example of a mentor-protégé relationship, this connection teaches us not only about discipleship but also about the importance of having a support system.

What I learned from the story of Paul and Timothy, and their love and respect for one another, has played an important role in my life. Having been in both positions (mentor and protégé), I’ve learned the best relationships are when both can learn and grow from them. My first mentor was my adopted dad, who taught me auto and home repair, and so much more. His greatest lessons were on how to become a man of honesty, integrity, godly morals, and to live out the values he and Mom instilled. My first experience as a mentor was in high school as a cadet leader, helping underclassmen understand and learn to become leaders themselves. I like to think I’ve gotten better at it in the more than half-century since.

Growing alone in our faith is not an option. #Discipleship #Teamwork #SpiritualGrowth Click To Tweet

As I progressed in my career, I often served in both roles. I grew and learned from some wonderful leaders who taught me much more about leading than the military did. As my career advanced and leadership opportunities increased, I mentored anywhere from one to twenty-four people (depending on the position) who worked with me. I also discovered that mentorship was not relegated to those who reported to me, but often other peers and underlings in other departments. Another area of my life where I’ve found this dual role important is in my spiritual life.

As I’ve grown in Christ, I again serve in both roles, as mentor and protégé. To this day, I am grateful for wonderful brothers-in-Christ who show me how to grow and strengthen my faith. Not to leave the ladies out, I am also blessed to have many sisters-in-Christ who help make me a better Christian and husband. I am grateful for those whom God has placed in my path and allow me to do the same. Referred to as a “father and son” relationship (Philippians 2:22, 1 Corinthians 4:17, 1st & 2nd Timothy), I see Paul and Timothy as analogous of the relationship we should have with Christ.

I define a Paul and Timothy relationship as one of instruction, care, and guidance that benefits both the disciple-maker and the disciple. I’m convinced that in our Christian lives, we need to be both. Whether it’s the Holy Spirit teaching us, or using us to teach others, sanctification of ourselves and others requires us to serve Him.

Who is your Paul, and who is your Timothy? #Discipleship #SpiritualGrowth Click To Tweet

To fully carryout Christ’s charge to His church (Matthew 28:19-20), we must seek to serve in both roles throughout our sanctification. We must ask God for those godly “Paul” figures who can come alongside us and help us grow. We must also ask Him to place those “Timothy” people that we can help in their walk in our paths, then prompt us to notice them.

As you go through your week, consider the question asked above: “Who is my Paul and who is my Timothy?” I find myself with multiples of each these days and I hope you can say the same.

God’s blessings,

66 thoughts on “My Paul and Timothy”

  1. Great lesson from the hounds!
    I think the balanced believer will be both a Paul to some and a Timothy to others throughout their journey. We need to be always leading, protecting, teaching, and befriending those coming along side of us. We also need to be listening and learning from those that we come along side of equally as well. Thanks for the life lesson and encouragement JD.

    1. I could not agree more Mr. Ben. I like that term, “a Balanced Believer.” I may have to borrow that for a post in the future. You’re so right though, we must always be listening and learning to and from others as we walk through this journey in faith. Thank you sir.

  2. J.D., it is amazing the lessons we can learn as we simply go through our day and observe. Those dogs bring a powerful lesson. Some days we are like “Bubba” – leading and guiding. Other days, we are like Archie, on a leash and to be led while learning. I am so grateful for those who came alongside of me to teach and grow me in Christ. I pray that I am just as faithful to point others to Christ and help them grow. I so appreciate this canine lesson, J.D.!

    1. I’m right there with you Ms. Joanne. I often pray that God help me to “see” both the opportunity to help and the winningness to accept help from those God puts on my path. Thank you ma’am.

  3. I love this post, J.D. Mentors are so important in life and in our writing. I’ve got two good friends with whom I have been both mentor and protégé. We have held one another accountable for years. Now I find myself more in the mentor stage of life. It’s a blessing to share what Father has taught me – and is still teaching me.

    1. What a great point Ms. Ane. We must be as willing to hold ourselves accountable to others while at the same time being someone else’s accountability partner. In all honesty, I think I’ve learned more from the “Timothy” folks in my life than the “Paul” folks. Both have helped me to become both a better Christian and writer. God’s blessing ma’am.

  4. Beautiful post and truth my friend. As a mom, I know I have taught my children much and been their mentor, but they have taught me just as much, if not more, about myself and life! I think it is very important to be open to learning from all people in our lives.

    1. Perhaps the most important “Paul-Timothy” role is that of being a parent or grandparent. I think it’s easier to be the old sage grand. LOL We’ve already made most of the mistakes that parents make. In that role we get to be double the blessing. Be well my healthy and happy friend.

    1. In case you’re wondering, you’re a “Paul” in my life my friend. As for your “Timothy”s, I suspect every one of your grandchildren know to come to you for wise counsel and advice. You’re doing a great job from everything I can see.

  5. My friend Pat is definitely my Paul. 🙂 Right now, my daughters are my Timothy, both in their twenties and figuring out life, marriage and motherhood for one, and relationship/future marriage for the other…and how to keep Jesus at the center of everything during a season of life when everything else wants to be the center.

    1. Oh, I love that you can name them. It tells me that they are near and dear to your heart and you are actively involved in their lives, as you are theirs. Yes Yes Yes! Keeping Jesus center in our lives, when we’re being pulled by the world (and yes, sometimes our spouse) in ninety different directions can be so challenging. I’m glad you’re showing them through your example that doing so offers amazing returns. Thank you Ms. Karen. And you thought you had retired from teaching. LOL

  6. As always, J. D., you have once again shown us the valuable lessons we can learn from our animal friends. I pray that I never cease being Jesus’ protege, and that I can, in turn, mentor others in the love Christ has revealed to us.
    Blessings, and give both your pups an extra pat from me!

    1. I sure will Ms. Martha. As I’m typing here, I’ve got Archie begging me for a bite of my fish stick. “I love you pup, but it ain’t gonna happen. 🙂 You already ate most of my cheese snack earlier.” As I read your blog posts, especially the ones featuring your granddaughters, it becomes clear to me, each of them are your “Timothy”. God’s blessings sweet friend.

  7. Jeannie Waters

    J. D., your ranch stories illustrate biblical principles perfectly. In my career as an educator, I was privileged to learn from experienced teachers and then to mentor new teachers. In our walk with Christ, it’s a honor to serve in both capacities–as a mentor and one who desires to learn. Your post instilled a desire to learn more of Christ so that I can effectively serve others. Thank you.

    1. It surely is an honor, in both cases, Ms. Jeannie. When we learn from true teachers and mentors (yes, there’s a difference), the learning is so much easier and can be reinforced through example. When I’m in “Paul-mode”, I ask God to grant me the same patience and wisdom He blessed many of my “Paul”s with. Like you, I suspect, I’ve seen both good and bad and it becomes easier to discern that the more we do it. Thank you so much for sharing your insights and wisdom with us ma’am .

  8. My dog teaches me lessons as well. I’m so glad you shared this insight from Bubba and Archie and related them to Paul and Timothy. We are blessed that God sends us leaders, teachers, and mentors to guide us along our path. Then, when He thinks we’re ready, God puts us in those roles. What an humbling honor to serve our Lord in that capacity. Thank you for your leadership, mentorship, and guidance, my friend.

    1. We sure are Ms. Katherine. What fun it would be to meet your “Heidi” dog, I bet she’s every bit as gentle and kind as you are ma’am. Like Ms. Jeannie Waters above, as a long-time educator, I reckon you have served in both roles, both in school and in the church. God’s blessings ma’am.

  9. Kathy Collard Miller

    Another powerful blog post communicating deep truths through things seen. I love how you emphasize we can be both Timothy and Paul at the same time with different people. May we never think they are exclusive. Paul was fabulous at raising up his mentees to be mentors to others. May that be among our goals in discipleship.

    1. Amen Ms. Kathy. They are indeed non-exclusive, and I believe God designed us that way. I find I’m always learning, whether that’s from the kiddos or other teachers and helpers in our church’s children ministry. We observe, store, process, and analyze to see what we can take from every interaction; we are made to serve in both roles simultaneously. Thank you for all your kind words of encouragement ma’am. I’ll continue working hard to be worthy of them one day.

    1. Amen Ms. Tammy. We certainly need both Paul and Timothy in our lives ma’am. And I too pray that God places both in my path also. We never know when the moment arises when we need to be one or the other. It happened to me in the checkout line the other day. A frazzled cashier who was wearing an “I Love Jesus” sticker on her nametag was clearly at her wit’s end with a long line of demanding, grumpy, and rude shoppers. As I encouraged her to take a few deep breaths and take her time checking me out, I prayed God’s peace over her. It was amazing to see her countenance change. As a “Paul” of sorts, I reminded her that He is right there with you through every moment and while you’re taking that cleansing breath, ask Him to hug your heart for a minute and bring calm back into your life. Blessed to be a blessing sweet friend, just as you are.

  10. Loved your introduction to another challenging post As long as we’re growing, learning and willing, we have occasions to be both Paul and Timothy- sometimes in the same season of life.The Paul /Timothy relationship is not one sided but mutually beneficial. I’m thankful for the “Paulette” in my life whose passion for the Word was irresistible and contagious. I don’t know where I’d be without her influence.

    1. Well said Ms. Marilyn. It “is not one-sided but mutually beneficial.” I’m grateful you have a “Paulette” to help guide and grow you, and I know for a fact you have a “Timothy” or twenty in your life as well. I are one! 🙂 God’s blessings ma’am.

  11. That picture of your canine Paul and Timothy is on my list of some of the cutest. What a great lesson you shared just from your little dog walk. This brings to mind the times we do need to be aware of how we depend upon others and also help them. Blessings, J.D.

    1. How true Ms. Barb. I’m learning to keep my “spiritual radar” attuned for God-ordained opportunities to both teach and learn, often happening at the same time. LOL God’s blessings my friend.

  12. Edwina Cowgill

    Mr. J.D., as always I enjoyed your blog! I have been both mentor and protege and I enjoyed both roles. My mentor was always my dad, who led a Christian home, and until the day he died, named his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren every night in his prayer time. He left us with a wonderful legacy. At the moment, I don’t have a protege, but I’m sure God will bring one along soon! Blessings to you!

    1. Ms. Edwina, your comment brought a combination of tears and overwhelming feelings of unworthiness. When I realize all that is going on in your world at this time, I truly never expected to see a share or comment from my friend Ms. Edwina. As far as your “not having a protege”, think again. You’ve just taught me a new level of grace that I won’t soon forget.

      While tears were flowing from your kind demonstration of grace, I felt so unworthy of your efforts and encouraging comments. As I cried out to God, He reminded me that “You (me) are unworthy, but I AM not.” Your comments served to show me again that we Christian writers offer everything we type to God as a sacrifice, because He is worthy! God’s blessings sweet friend, and please know that you and your family remain in my daily prayers.

  13. I love the message here, JD. We learn so much from our animal friends.

    As believers, we become disciples who are supposed to become disciplers. Different seasons of life find us fulfilling different roles. Thanks for this great discussion. God bless!

    1. We do indeed learn much from the natural world and the animals God created to fill it along with us. They are living, breathing, feeling things that cry out to God. We can hear them speaking if we get quiet and listen intently while in prayer with them. And yes, different seasons of life will require us to assume different roles. Amazingly, God created us with the ability to fill both roles admirably as we grow more in Him.

  14. That’s a great application. All my life, God has had women ahead of me in the path that I can look to, even though we weren’t in a formal mentor relationship. Though I am now on the “older” end of the spectrum, I still need others to look to, that I may gain from their wisdom and experience. I hope I can share the same with younger women.

    1. Amen! Thank you Ms. Barbara. I too pray that God enables me to repay all the kindness, goodness, and blessings of those who came before me and obeyed God. Yes, we “more mature” continue to need both, otherwise we become empty.

  15. That you’re so attuned to your dogs’ relationship shows how much you care for them. And it also demonstrates the godly wisdom you find in the everyday moments of life.

    “For to a person who is good in His sight He has given wisdom and knowledge and joy…” Ecc 2:6

    1. Awww… Thank you Ms. Candyce. I do the very best I can to be a good steward of all the blessings God has bestowed upon me. I pray He one day finds me a “good and faithful servant.” God’s blessings ma’am.

  16. I think my younger dog has now taken on the role of protector of his aging older brother. But he still looks up to him. I like the Paul and Timothy analogy. Your thoughts remind me that someone is watching us and we want to provide a godly example and not lead them into harm. And we need to be careful whom we follow.

    1. Isn’t that interesting Ms. Debbie. “Strider” has learned the lessons needed to assume a “Paul” position for his canine friend. What a blessing that must be. How very true ma’am, that we are living, breathing examples that live out our lives in front of others. As “Ambassadors for Christ”, it is so important how we present ourselves at all times, not when we “know” the lens is upon us. And yes, we must always pray that God shows us when we encounter those who are not serving Him, but themselves. Well said ma’am.

  17. Looks like i’m a bit late getting in on this one, Brother, but i am blessed and intrigued by the creative way you brought up the relationship shared by Paul and Timothy. Like you, but probably to a lesser extent, I’ve been on both sides of that relationship and have been incredibly blessed in both roles. Sometimes, I’ve wondered which one of us was the mentor and which was the protege. I couldn’t think about it and not be captivated by the nature of the relationship that people like me have with you. So many of us in the growing circle of your fans and friends also endeavor to encourage others through one kind of writing or another. You read our stuff and send out insightful responses that make us say, “Wait a minute… Who’s encouraging who here?” Personally, I don’t even care. Maybe I get to be Paul one day and Timothy the next, but it’s a no-way-to-lose situation, because I’m incredibly blessed either way. So, whichever dog I happen to be still grants me an opportunity to be a better friend, and I always get to experience the joy of the walk. God bless you for way you mentor all of us, Brother, and for helping us not to get snake bit along the way. 🙂

    1. It’s amazing how many times I’ve asked God, “Was I the teacher or the student in that one, Lord?” Thank you for your kind words sir, but I’m certain you’ve heard this before from me. You get what you give my friend, and I most certainly thank God for friends like you who ensure I get much more than I give. Your posts, comments, texts, calls, and emails always seem to arrive “just in time” and bring me the lift, encouragement, and sometimes rebuke and correction I need. Thank you for allowing God to use you to help others around you. God’s blessings my friend and brother.

  18. I love your stories about those two sweet dogs. By your descriptions, I can picture them walking together. How wonderful they have a special relationship! Thank you for this sweet and inspirational message! 🙂

    1. Thank you Ms. Mimi. As I follow your posts and see how well you are leading your two little Timothys, I am blessed to see how God is establishing your legacy of faith within your family. And to know how you extend that to our Christian writing community is a most wonderful blessing.

  19. I love your dogs, J.D.! And this post gives us some excellent insights for a godly life. God uses both sides of the mentoring relationship to sharpen us. I appreciate all I’ve learned from you.

    1. He (God) sure does Ms. Annie. I’m convinced I learn more when I’m the teacher than when I’m the student sometimes. In your book, “From Ignorance to Bliss”, I saw how God used your homeschooling and advocacy experiences to do the same thing. I also appreciate all that you give, share, and teach us my friend. God’s blessings.

  20. I love reading about your two dogs and their adventures. Such a great lesson and I thank you for everything you have poured into my life. May the Lord bless you alway

    1. Ms. Yvonne, I want to share those same words with you, dear friend. It’s when we take every opportunity to share with and learn from others that we achieve our greatest growth as Christians ma’am. I am certainly most blessed to share this journey we call life with wonderful friends like you and Bill. What an honor it was to finally meet you two. I’m even bigger fans now than I was before we met, if that were possible.

  21. Comparing the relationship your dogs, Bubba and Archie, have to the relationship Paul had with Timothy was a good analogy to help readers understand that mentors and protégés are both important roles. Love and serve and serve and love. Thanks, JD!

  22. I’m a big fan of learning how to love well by observing the behavior of a beloved dog. In the creation account, we see God working in community with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. We aren’t to do life in isolation either. Thankful to our beloved pets who teach us what that looks like! Your Paul and Timothy canines are blessed to have you as their master.

    1. Go ahead and make your old Texas friend shed a tear Ms. Mary. What a great insight about how God worked together to achieve all He created and how He planned every detail to be played out throughout eternity. And yes, God uses His other creations throughout the natural world to show us His glory and teach us His ways. What a great observation ma’am. I often ask God why He loves me so much to give me friends (furry and otherwise) who are so willing to love and help me grow. I’m glad you’re among them ma’am. God’s blessings.

  23. J.D., this is such a powerful message. I love how you described your walks with Bubba and Archie and their interactions with each other. It’s a wonderful analogy to Paul and Timothy and the need for mentorship in our lives. I’ve had some great mentors in my life and I’ve also enjoyed the young women the Lord has brought into my path to pour my life into spiritually.

    1. J.D. Wininger

      Thank you Ms. Karen. There is much we can learn from both sides of our “Paul-Timothy” relationships, isn’t there? So glad you enjoyed the post ma’am.

  24. Once again, JD, you’ve shared a great lesson from the ranch. “The best relationships are when both can learn and grow from them.” That’s so true for every relationship we have, whether at work or in the church or through friendship. Paul and Timothy had such love and respect for each other. I pray that I’m humble enough to be used in both roles wherever God takes me. Thank you, sir — blessings as we go into a new week.

    1. J.D. Wininger

      Such a great point Ms. Leigh, our “Paul and Timothy” moments are not relegated to discipleship-focused relationships. I can look back across my working career and see where God has brought many more “Paul” figures into my work life, that it turn enabled me to do the same later in my career. Of course, even the best-intentioned “Paul” is only as effective of the willingness of their “Timothy” to accept what they have to offer. Thank you so much for adding to our conversation ma’am. God’s blessings.

  25. What a great story to illustrate the mentor/mentee relationship of Paul and Timothy! I’m thankful to have had great mentors throughout my life, and pray that when I’m in that role, I’ll have wisdom and understanding from God.

  26. My dogs O’Malley and Rio have the same type of behavior as your described for Bubba and Archie. They smell the same scents, tinkle on the same bush, and explore the same trails. The older Irish setter has taught the younger one the tricks of the Allen household over the years. But now it is interesting to watch how the older one is conceding to the younger dog allowing him to be the watchdog. As we get older and wiser, we pass the baton as we should. It is God’s intention. I have tried to find a spiritual mentor without success, but I enjoy my weekly prayer time with an older senior. We enjoy contemplating spiritual dilemmas. Seems we interchange our Paul and Timothy roles.

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