I attended a Republican breakfast meeting this morning and heard an interesting talk from a former astronaut, talking about the operation of a space shuttle. After some work at home, I headed to an afternoon massage appointment and then returned home for a Colorado Public Radio interview on West Nile Virus. It will be interesting to see what comment or two is used in the brief story when it airs.
BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… “You, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” 2 Timothy 2:1,2 HCSB
As Paul is writing this last and final letter, his concern was for the continued stability of the Church and gospel is clear. Paul knew that he had a task to fulfill and a mission to accomplish. However, it went beyond his own commitment to Christ and proclaiming the gospel, but including his calling as an apostle.
An apostle is one who establishes. He lays a foundation for others to build on, his concern is for the continuance and the strengthening of what he established. One of the great questions an organization or movement faces is, “What will happen when an influential and effective leader is gone?” “What will happen when the last of a generation of leaders is gone?” Those questions continue to asked down the corridors of time. But what we observe is that there is always someone who emerges to “fill the shoes” there is always someone the Lord uses in unique and powerful ways.
The key to this continuance and expansion of the faith is found in these simple words and admonition to Timothy… “Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
This was to be a focus and priority of Timothy’s as a leader. Essentially, what Paul had been to him, he was to be to others. We not only see the priority of his task, but the priority of his teaching. He was to pass on “verifiable” truth. What Timothy was teaching was going to be able to be confirmed by others. In that way there was integrity and accountability for protecting the message.
Then we can see the priority of the qualifications of those entrusted with the message. Men who are faithful and who will teach others. They were to be spiritual rivers, not ponds. They were not just to receive, they were to in turn give. Life comes to bodies of water when there is inflow and outflow. The same is true of the “water of life” that enters into our lives. Jesus told his disciples, “freely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:8)
I recall often speaking of the qualifications of “F-A-T” people. “Faithful, available and teachable.” All three are important and if one is missing, there will be a lack of efficiency and effectiveness. As I began to develop in my pastoral ministry, I recall feeling the incredible responsibility of being a “steward of the gifts and talents” of those under my leadership. That continues to be the challenge of pastoral leaders in every church and every part of the world. The faith is not just to be “kept” – it is intended to be “given away!”
Prayer for Today… “Lord, what an awesome responsibility we have to receive and embrace the truth, but to also pass it on to others. Those faithful people in our lives may be friends or family members or others in our circle of relationships. Thank you for the impact Your truth has on us, help us to share that with others. Help us to be conduits and a life flow, so people are strong in Your grace and Your work and Church remains strong.”