“I want to invite you to a get together I’m having because I want to show you…”
If you’ve “been around the block” a few times in life you know this is a type of opening inviting you to a “party” where a friend or family member of yours is introducing you to the latest rage of products.
Ah…multi-level marketing: where you get your friends and family (even strangers!) to invest in their own business while they get others in on their own business. Eventually if you get enough people in their own business of building their business, you make money.
I personally know someone who has made a fortune in Amway with this very approach.
The key, as he explains it, is your downlink: those people who have bought into the business from you and “feed you” with the revenue they get from those feeding them.
Whether or not you participate in multi-level marketing businesses or not isn’t my point today, but the idea of getting fed from your “downlink” certainly is.
After all, Christianity, is not meant to be kept to ourselves; it’s meant to be passed along. And in the Church, there are leaders with responsibilities that include teaching others. For that role, it is vital to pass the truth of God’s word “down the line” so they are qualified to teach others, who teach others, who teach others and so on.
This is precisely what the Apostle Paul was telling young Timothy in our passage today: 2 Timothy 2:1-2.
1 You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.2 Timothy 2:1-2
New International Version
Whereas the first chapter of 2 Timothy ended with the sad reference of desertion from the Christians in Asia, the present chapter opens with the encouragement to stand strong.
It is easy to “go with the flow” of our cultures and change the core of the Christian message to fit the culture. But that must never be done. Our methodology must constantly change, but the content of our message must remain “strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (verse 1).
The strength timid Timothy needed was not “manning up”, it was “faithing up”. It was standing on the certainty of the sure foundation of Jesus.
The confidence Timothy would acquire by relying on the constancy of his faith in Jesus would give him the spiritual authority to connect to his future downlink: “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others” (verse 2).
I’m blessed with leading a phenomenal staff who makes great advances in pushing the frontier of the Kingdom of God. And periodically I remind them: “All of us are leaving someday. By resignation, death, or firing, we’ll all be moving on someday. We won’t be here and someone else will take our place. Therefore, make sure you’ve done well to replace yourself so the congregation continues to move forward.”
My attitude is not one of cynicism, fear, or negatively. It’s just the reality: one day, we’ll move on and someone else will take the baton and run. The Apostle Paul knew the same thing about himself. And he had entrusted Timothy with what he knew. Timothy was to pass that along to those who would take the Gospel further and wider than Timothy or Paul.
That’s the amazing thing about the Kingdom of God: the more we entrust the Gospel to a multitude of people, the wider the reach of the Gospel to lives.
And it all comes down to what multi-level marketers know so well: you gotta have a downlink.
Who’s your downlink in the Gospel?