2 Timothy 4 is Paul’s final chapter in the letter to Timothy. He speaks clearly and gives Timothy some direct instruction on how to lead. “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching”. It is easy for us to dismiss this as preacher talk and not relevant to you and me. But that is not correct. In fact – we are ministers of the gospel – this is written to us – and we need to wake up and realize that our life preaches the Word every day. The only question is whether we are living that message the way God intends and has instructed us in His Word. Do you ever consider that for many in your patch you are the only picture of God’s Truth that they read and see – the life we live in the flesh – it is God’s Word to those in our patch. So don’t ignore Paul’s words here – they are directed as us – and we need to live and speak His truth so we impact those around us. We are responsible to reprove, rebuke and exhort. That is our task!
He goes on to warn Timothy of how people are going to live and act – and this sure sound familiar. “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths”. We need to realize that not everyone will be joyful when we share the truth. In fact, many will resist and even persecute us for living for Christ. People want to hear what they want to hear. They don’t like absolute truth – they want to water it down and make it fit their lifestyle and desires. That isn’t how God’s Word works. It is truth – it doesn’t change – and we need to proclaim it and live it that way. Not easy – but it is the life of a Christ Follower. We need to learn His Truth and then live that way without change. In fact Paul tells Timothy to “be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry”. Basically just do it – don’t waver – don’t let others impact your course – learn the Word and live it – sharing truth as you go.
Paul wraps up his words by reminding us how we should live as a Christ Follower and minister of the gospel. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”. I long to be able to have those words describe me when I am at the end of life. I long to hear “well done good and faithful servant from my God”. How about you? Are you fighting the good fight – we are in a battle – a realy spiritual battle with a very real spiritual enemy – and life is not just fun and games. In fact – we need to take that reality a lot more seriously than we do. It won’t be easy but Paul reminds us why it matters – because God is keeping score. When we live for Him the way we are instructed – “there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing”. We have a reward ahead if we live our lives for the Father. There is a scoreboard on life. What we do with Jesus determines if we are in the game or not – whether we get to heaven or not is determined by that alone. But once we accept Him and have a personal relationship to gain our entry – the rest of life is really the determination of what that eternity ends up looking like. Life is all about preparing us for our eternity. It is about what that will end up looking life – and what the rewards and place we will serve ends up being. Never think that life doesn’t matter. It does – today and for eternity. Are you laying up treasures in heaven by making intentional choices today to walk with and serve our Lord?