2 Timothy 2
Have you ever thought about why when someone enlists in the military they go off to basic training? I am not as versed in this as others but it’s my understanding that when in basic training they take cell phones away and pretty much while in training to be a soldier they have very little contact with the outside world. The soldier eats, sleeps and works with fellow soldiers under a commanding officer. A good soldier is aiming to please his commanding officer. Much the same with athletes. A good athlete trains and competes by the rules and then may win the crown. He is not going to win the crown if he doesn’t train and play by the rules. Paul is using these as an example to say that we are to aim to please the one who enlisted us (Jesus) that we train and learn from Him in order to play by the rules and with it we will win the crown (which is winning others to Christ). Yes I truly believe that we are to be in the world and that we are to let our light shine among men. But maybe what Paul is saying here is that there is also one on one training we need to be doing with our commanding officer in order to lead others to Christ. (vv 1-5) The next verse kind of threw me.
“It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.” 2 Timothy 2:6
I had to read that verse over and over because I thought we were supposed to offer back to God the first fruits. I read some commentary and I read this verse over and over in other translations. What I think Paul is saying here is that when you are working hard in the harvest like the hard working farmer, you will receive the first knowledge, and the first blessings. We can’t feed others if we are not in training ourselves, whether it be as an athlete, or a soldier or the farmer who is digging to learn so that we can go out and teach and lead. You will have to spend time in prayer and in study in order to be a good soldier for Christ.
Paul carries on to bring reference to the fact that he is still in chains.
“But the word of God is not bound!” 2 Timothy 2:9
There is one of those exclamation points. I love looking for them in scripture now. Paul is saying that while he is in prison he still has a purpose. That God still has a purpose for him. Oh how encouraging to me that even when sometimes I wonder if I am where I should be in life that God still has purpose for me and His word is not bound. What I am to do is to be obedient to Him and speak his truth and write and teach when and where He calls me to do so. Whatever “prison” I think I am in, God can still use me.
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
That is my prayer for today, for me and for you. What I want more than anything is for God to approve of me. I want to rightly handle His word. I pray that I am rightly handling His word. Paul goes on again to talk about “irreverent babble”. Be careful who and what you are listening to.
Paul lays out another charge at the end of this chapter:
“So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” 2 Timothy 2:22
God is calling us, Paul is challenging us to live with these things in mind. We are to pursue righteousness, we are to have faith, love others and do our best to live at peace with each other. Paul is not just telling Timothy how to live at peace and what he should be doing he is also goes on to tell Timothy to have nothing to do with arguments, ignorant controversies and quarreling. As the Lord’s servants we are not to be quarrelsome but kind to everyone and to be gentle. When I started this study of Timothy I had no idea how much of it would feel relevant to the times. (Why does that surprise me?) I do not think we are called to bury our head in the sand. Please hear that is not what I am saying here. I believe we are supposed to see what is going on around us but as it says in this chapter we as Christians should be kind, we should handle things with gentleness.
Lord help us today to handle your words with truth, help us to pursue righteousness, have faith, love others, live at peace with others and to be kind and gentle to those who may not see eye to eye with us.
Please pray today for your pastor and your churches.