Reading: 2 Timothy 1:1-14
From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus. God himself chose me to be an apostle, and he gave me the promised life that Jesus Christ makes possible.
Timothy, you are like a dear child to me. I pray that God our Father and our Lord Christ Jesus will be kind and merciful to you and will bless you with peace!
Night and day I mention you in my prayers. I am always grateful for you, as I pray to the God my ancestors and I have served with a clear conscience. I remember how you cried, and I want to see you, because this would make me truly happy. I also remember the genuine faith of your mother Eunice. Your grandmother Lois had the same sort of faith, and I am sure you have it as well. So I ask you to make full use of the gift God gave you when I placed my hands on you. Use it well. God’s Spirit doesn’t make cowards out of us. The Spirit gives us power, love, and self-control.
Don’t be ashamed to speak for our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, just because I am in jail for serving him. Use the power that comes from God and join with me in suffering for telling the good news.
God saved us and chose us to be his holy people.
We did nothing to deserve this, but God planned it because he is so kind.
Even before time began God planned for Christ Jesus to show kindness to us.
Now Christ Jesus has come to offer us God’s gift of undeserved grace.
Christ our Savior defeated death and brought us the good news.
It shines like a light and offers life that never ends.
My work is to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher. This is why I am suffering now. But I am not ashamed! I know the one I have faith in, and I am sure he can guard until the last day what he has trusted me with. Now follow the example of the correct teaching I gave you, and let the faith and love of Christ Jesus be your model. You have been trusted with a wonderful treasure. Guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit, who lives within us.
Paul’s letter to Timothy, his beloved friend, is filled with encouragement, reinforcement of faith, and reminder of the precious gift of being beloved. Paul encourages Timothy to make full use of the gift that God has given him, his Belovedness. To be beloved is to have been claimed by God just as Jesus was in his baptism. Henry Nouwen speaks of this belovedness as being something we can only share with another if we have claimed it for ourselves. In other words, unless we allow ourselves to be claimed by God, we cannot proclaim our love for another. As Paul writes to Timothy, it conveys a sense of belovedness that comes from both God and Paul. Nouwen says that “being the beloved is the origin and the fulfillment of the life of the Spirit.” Isn’t this exactly what Paul is saying to Timothy, that because he is already a beloved child of God, the Spirit will give him power, love, and self-control? These things will help him to guard his most treasured gift, his belovedness.
We too are claimed as beloved children of God, just as Paul and Timothy were. This belovedness is because God chose us and granted us grace through Christ Jesus. We have been given the most precious gift and we are to guard it with our very being. But by guarding it, it does not mean that we hide it, it means that we nurture it, never letting the light of Christ dim within us, but rather let our belovedness shine for the entire world to see.
Gracious God, there are no words to express enough thanks that you have claimed us as your beloved. Through your Spirit empower us to boldly embrace our belovedness and to share that gift of belovedness with one another. Let us never be ashamed to let the light of Christ show the world that we belong to you.
 Nouwen, Henri J. M., Life of the Beloved, (New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1992), 30.
 Nouwen, 43.