What's With Mercy

Oct. 22, 2020

Scripture Readings

In virtually every greeting Paul begins his many New Testament letters with, he uses the phrase “grace and peace” to you. It’s his thing. It’s what he does. It’s comforting. It’s predictable ... like a familiar pair of old slippers or a favorite sweatshirt! But here in this last epistle to his dear friend Timothy, he adds mercy to the familiar duo. What’s that about?

It may mean nothing. It may mean something privately between the two of them. It may be an expression of warmth and love between a mentor and mentee. It may be there because Timothy was facing some pretty big challenges in his leadership that would require a deposit and expression of mercy. 

Paul’s opening speaks of his tenderness towards Timothy ... he addresses him as his “dear son” (v2). He speaks of the joy that would be his if he were to be able to see him (v4). He reminds him of the “sincere faith” that has been passed along him through the generations (v5). He speaks of the evidences of authentic faith in v7 ... that a life centred in Jesus is marked but “power, love and sound thinking.”

The heart of the letter is to stay faithful to the gospel and to the call of God upon one’s life. Paul identifies that he himself felt the pain of unfaithfulness where he felt deserted by the church in Asia (v15). But then he affirmed their mutual friend, Onesiphorus, who often “refreshed Paul” by his friendship and encouragement.

We talk often about those “3:00 am friends” that we all need. Paul is reminding Timothy that he(and Onesiphorus) are those kinds of friends. Perhaps this is why “mercy” is added to the greeting. Perhaps Timothy was one who constantly added mercy to other’s lives and Pau wanted to remind Tim of both where it comes from and how life-giving it is. 

Are you a friend who “refreshes others?” Who needs your refreshing influence this day? Make a call. Send a text. Make a visit (in a social distancing kind of way!). Bless all who God beings across your path today. Start at home. Spread out from there. Be blessed and bless others with your mercy!

I’m so grateful for you!


Ian Trigg

One who thrives on the refreshing mercy of so many!