Timothy was a young man at the time this letter was written, and Paul sums up this chapter by encouraging him to hang in there and not to allow his youth to get in the way of his ministry.
The message here is that even someone who is relatively young in years can set an example for all to follow. What is it that we expect of a younger man? All too often it is silliness, poor judgment and the like; Paul’s advice will enable Timothy to overcome this apparent weakness, for when Timothy exhibits maturity beyond his years, his relative youth is no longer an issue. This opens up another discussion, for Timothy’s young age shouldn’t be a big factor anyway if his maturity in Christ is evident. Today we assume that an older person is more mature in the faith than a younger one, but this is often not the case. I have known people who have sat in church for decades who have never moved beyond spiritual infancy, while others much younger have grown greatly in the faith, and in ministry that spiritual maturity is the factor that makes the difference.
At the same time, we often assume that an older person isn’t capable of leading God’s people forward, assuming that the older person must be out of touch and enfeebled, but this is also not necessarily the case. Isn’t it funny how we look at others so often through eyes that are colored with cultural stereotypes?
In verse 14, Paul again refers to the “gift” Timothy has received that we spoke of when it was first mentioned in chapter 1.
Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
Summing up again, Paul enjoins Timothy to apply himself wholly to his mission, to demonstrate spiritual maturity that people can see so that they will follow his lead as he cleans up the situation in the church, and in doing so, he will be a blessing to all. Yet even more than that, he will be a blessing to the entire Kingdom, for in completing his task, he will advance the Gospel, build the Body of Christ and give glory to God through his service. It would seem that such an accomplishment would be quite a reward to a servant of Jesus Christ.