April Reading from The Message
Paul wrote letters to many believers, but it’s clear he had a special place in his heart for Timothy. Here, at the beginning of 2 Timothy, Paul is encouraging his younger brother in Christ to be bold in using his gifts. Paul recognizes his potential and shares why Timothy can overcome his timidity to serve Christ…
I, Paul, am on special assignment for Christ, carrying out God’s plan laid out in the Message of Life by Jesus. I write this to you, Timothy, the son I love so much. All the best from our God and Christ be yours!
3-4 Every time I say your name in prayer—which is practically all the time—I thank God for you, the God I worship with my whole life in the tradition of my ancestors. I miss you a lot, especially when I remember that last tearful good-bye, and I look forward to a joy-packed reunion.
5-7 That precious memory triggers another: your honest faith—and what a rich faith it is, handed down from your grandmother Lois to your mother Eunice, and now to you! And the special gift of ministry you received when I laid hands on you and prayed—keep that ablaze! God doesn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible.
8-10 So don’t be embarrassed to speak up for our Master or for me, his prisoner. Take your share of suffering for the Message along with the rest of us. We can only keep on going, after all, by the power of God, who first saved us and then called us to this holy work. We had nothing to do with it. It was all his idea, a gift prepared for us in Jesus long before we knew anything about it. But we know it now. Since the appearance of our Savior, nothing could be plainer: death defeated, life vindicated in a steady blaze of light, all through the work of Jesus.
11-12 This is the Message I’ve been set apart to proclaim as preacher, emissary, and teacher. It’s also the cause of all this trouble I’m in. But I have no regrets. I couldn’t be more sure of my ground—the One I’ve trusted in can take care of what he’s trusted me to do right to the end.
13-14 So keep at your work, this faith and love rooted in Christ, exactly as I set it out for you. It’s as sound as the day you first heard it from me. Guard this precious thing placed in your custody by the Holy Spirit who works in us.
He Called Us to This Work
Timothy, being younger than Paul, stood in his shadow, struggling with timidity. Then suddenly, when Paul was thrown in jail, Timothy was thrust into the position of having to take a primary leadership role. This was kind of intimidating, and embarrassing. After all, how can you talk about victory in Christ when his most stalwart witness is in jail?
Hardly the circumstances conducive for a timid man to boldly proclaim the Message. How did Paul help Timothy deal with his insecurities and gain the confidence he needed to take over leadership of the church at Ephesus?
He did it by telling Timothy that not all of it rested on his shoulders, which is sometimes how people in leadership positions feel. Paul said that the power of God is what keeps us going, not our own power. It is he who saved us, not ourselves. It is he who called us to this work, not our volunteering for it. We had nothing to do with it. It was his idea. And it came to us as a gift.
Timothy could rest in that in spite of his insecurities. I can rest in that in spite of mine. And so can you.
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