When I was a kid, I used to play dominos. Not the game—I used to stack up the dominos one in front of the other and build an elaborate trail leading in numerous directions. Then, with one simple touch, I started a chain reaction affecting hundreds of other dominos.
Think about it: one domino affected hundreds of others. In the video above, you’ll see the power of one domino on over 4 million.
And you can do the same thing.
Please join us and learn how in our daily Bible conversation!
INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS
Jeremiah 39:1-41:18. We step away from Jeremiah’s prophecies to read about the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C., which Jeremiah had prophesied. Apparently, King Nebuchadnezzar had heard about Jeremiah advice to Zedekiah to surrender without a fight, so he treated him well.
2 Timothy 1:1-18. During the reign of Roman Emperor Nero, Paul was thrown in prison. In contrast to his previous imprisonment where he stayed in a rented house (Acts 28:30), this time Paul was stuck in a cold dungeon (2 Timothy 4:13) and chained like a common criminal (2 Timothy 1:16; 2:9). Likely Paul’s last epistle, he wrote this because he was lonely and wanted to ensure that his churches were okay.
Paul also wanted to encourage Timothy to pastor his churches with confidence: “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 did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:6-7).
Notice those last few words, because they apply to us, too. God has already given us a spirit of power, love and self-discipline. How do we know that? Because the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have made a permanent dwelling place in us! Fear doesn’t need to rule us.
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THE WORD MADE FRESH
With the end of his life close at hand, Paul began reflecting on his life. Quite often as we get older, our deepest values rise to the surface. So while sitting in a dungeon with chains that limited his ability to even get comfortable, Paul wrote to Timothy, “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5).
The Domino Effect.
Paul knew Timothy’s grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice well enough to identify the sincere faith that had passed from generation to generation. The word “sincere” is translated literally as “unhypocritical.” The three family members shared a common authenticity. More than a genetic trait, it was character quality that Timothy gained from spending time with his mother who spent time with her mother. This was mentoring in action.
Then at the end of the chapter Paul returns to the theme of mentoring: “What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:13). This time, Paul wasn’t referring to Timothy’s family, he was referring to himself. Paul was Timothy’s mentor, too. Timothy was the product of numerous people who invested themselves in him.
A key reason why Christianity still exists nearly two thousand years after Paul wrote these words is because men and women like Paul and Lois invested themselves in the lives of the people around them. They passed on their faith, their character, their life to younger men and women. Like a stack of dominos, if you are a follower of Jesus, you are benefitting TODAY from the influence of thousands, if not millions, of Christians who have gone before you.
The greatest investment you could ever make is to invest yourself in other people. You don’t need an instruction manual, you don’t even need an agenda to follow. Just find someone whose heart is open to you, someone with whom you can build a relationship. Then tip the domino: live life together. Meet for coffee. Play tennis. Sit together at church. Ask lots of questions. Talk about your hopes, fears, failures—in other words, be authentic. Just like Lois, Eunice, and Timothy.
Don’t think you have it together enough to be a mentor? Welcome to the club. It’s not about you. It’s about Christ who lives in you. That’s why it’s also good to find someone who can mentor you. Finding a good mentor will make you a a more sincere follow of Jesus.
Imagine what the church would be like if believers in Jesus intentionally invested in one other like Timothy experienced.
It would start a chain reaction that would change the world.
And it begins with the tip of just one domino.
- What spoke to you in today’s reading?
- Who from your past has invested in your life? What difference did those people make? What character qualities did you glean from them?
- If you don’t already have one, who could be a mentor to you today?
- Who could use a mentor like you?
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Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church with Eugene Scott in Littleton, Colorado.