We are not told why Paul had to leave Ephesus for Macedonia, but we are told in the above verse that as he departed he urged Timothy to stay in Ephesus. Why would Paul have to beg Timothy to remain in Ephesus? Why would Paul assume that Timothy might even consider leaving this church? The answer to these questions can be inferred from his letter to the Ephesians.
Once the saved in a locale begin to assemble together “as fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household” (Eph. 2:19), the devil goes to work with his deceptions. In an attempt to keep the Ephesian saints from enjoying their blessings “in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 1:3), the devil attacked their gathering with confusion, backsliding and, in this case, doctrinal error.
If a local church is to survive the onslaught of the evil one, it is imperative that the Timothys remain, in order to exercise pastoral care and give daily ministry to meet immediate needs. Paul knew that no testimony was without attack. He also knew that pastoral care was a difficult, demanding and thankless work that many might be tempted to leave.
The need for pastoral care is evident today, even in churches seemingly as strong as the one in Ephesus. The task that lies before today’s Timothys is no small one. How can fellow believers help? We can realize the enormity of the pastor’s task. We can encourage pastors in their work. We can become part of the solution by avoiding “other doctrines,” rather than part of the problem by entertaining them. Most importantly, we can pray daily for our pastors.
By Larry Ondrejack
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org