Ecclesiastes 5 & 2 Timothy 1

Ecclesiastes 5

    Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil.  Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. For a dream comes with much business, and a fool's voice with many words.

    When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. Let not your mouth lead you into sin, and do not say before the messenger that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry at your voice and destroy the work of your hands? For when dreams increase and words grow many, there is vanity; but God is the one you must fear.

    If you see in a province the oppression of the poor and the violation of justice and righteousness, do not be amazed at the matter, for the high official is watched by a higher, and there are yet higher ones over them. But this is gain for a land in every way: a king committed to cultivated fields.

    He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity. When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes? Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep.

    There is a grievous evil that I have seen under the sun: riches were kept by their owner to his hurt, and those riches were lost in a bad venture. And he is father of a son, but he has nothing in his hand. As he came from his mother's womb he shall go again, naked as he came, and shall take nothing for his toil that he may carry away in his hand. This also is a grievous evil: just as he came, so shall he go, and what gain is there to him who toils for the wind? Moreover, all his days he eats in darkness in much vexation and sickness and anger.

    Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God. For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.

(Ecclesiastes 5 ESV)

2 Timothy 1

    Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus,

    To Timothy, my beloved child:

    Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

    I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

    Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

    You are aware that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains, but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me—may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day!—and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.

(2 Timothy 1 ESV)

2 Timothy 1: A great man becomes a great man because of great men in his life. As the apostle Paul writes his final letter before his inevitable execution, he decides to write this letter to his "beloved child" Timothy. Paul had been a father-figure in Timothy's life, but even more than that, Paul had been a mighty man of God that modeled for Timothy what Christ-centered manhood and what Christ-centered mission was all about. Therefore, in writing to his young prodigy, Paul encourages Timothy that it is his turn to 'man-up' and fulfill his God-given purpose in life and his reason for living.

Who are the mighty men in your life that model true manhood and mentor you in the way that Christ has called us to live? 

Perhaps one of the reasons our Christianity might be lacking the transformative power that we ought to possess is the utter absence in our lives of real authentic discipleship relationships. We read books on discipleship, join discipleship groups and attend conferences that preach discipleship, but is there an authentic apostle Paul or Timothy in our life? If we were seriously devoting our lives to authentic Christian discipleship then we would naturally find ourselves with a Paul (someone who pours their life into us) and a Timothy (someone we pour our lives into). 

Scripture tells us that an absence of either of these types of relationships will significantly hinder our spiritual growth and rob us of the riches of spiritual maturity (Colossians 2). Therefore, if we find ourselves without either of these types of relationships in life, then according to Scripture, we’re starving ourselves spiritually.