Father, thank You for all who shared the gospel with me and for those who shared the gospel with them. May your Spirit be powerful in me today, and give me grace to be useful to You. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Read 2 Timothy 1-2
2 Timothy is the second letter the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, his spiritual son. Because Paul was nearing the end of his ministry and life (4:6), his tone was personal and resolute.
He began by thanking God for Timothy and for the uncommon blessing of Timothy’s spiritual heritage, experiences, and gifts. When God entrusts us with any gift, it should be developed through useful service. “Fan those gifts into flame!” Paul said, for the Holy Spirit is powerful for boldness, love, and self-discipline.
The Holy Spirit is so powerful that God’s enemies could never hope to overpower Him. Instead, they try to disparage God’s people through shame. When God’s people are ashamed, they can become silent or inactive. Knowing this, Paul told Timothy to be ready, in the power of God, to suffer disgrace for the sake of the gospel.
Paul boldly and repeatedly challenged Timothy not to be ashamed. Honor and shame were very important concepts in first-century Roman culture, and Paul knew a prison cell was not an honorable setting from which to write a letter. But he wasn’t ashamed of the gospel, and he wasn’t ashamed to be imprisoned for the gospel.
When we proclaim the gospel, some people will mock and try to shame us. Those who resist the gospel may have Christians imprisoned or worse. For our part, we can expect these responses and, by God’s powerful Spirit in us, refuse to be ashamed. Instead, we can see the gospel as a vehicle not of shame but of glory to those who believe. Those who preach the gospel receive glory and honor, in spite of the shame the world heaps on them, because people are saved when the gospel is preached. Paul was a prisoner because of his faithfulness; he was a prisoner because he had joined God’s mission to save all people.
GENDER ROLES IN CHURCH
We should be on the lookout for faithful men and women who can carefully teach others. Paul intentionally reminded Timothy of the importance of multiplying faithfulness. Just as Paul benefited from a spiritual heritage passed on through faithful men in Israel, Timothy also had a rich heritage shaped by the sincere faithfulness of multiple generations of God-worshippers. In turn, Paul wrote, Timothy had a responsibility to teach those who would be faithful to teach others.
2 Timothy 2:24-25
24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil,25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth.
- One measure of faithfulness is how we handle God’s Word. We should use God’s Word not to engage in fruitless debates but to walk rightly before Him, which includes abstaining from wickedness. By fleeing selfish desires, God’s people position themselves to be useful to Him. Usefulness means being kind, able to teach, patient when wronged, and correcting with all gentleness.
- What are other measures of faithfulness?
- For Paul, there was a correlation between his faithfulness to God and his suffering. His discipling of Timothy included preparing Timothy to suffer. How do you feel about sharing the gospel with people knowing their belief in Jesus could lead to persecution or suffering?
Choose one of the following:
Just as faithfulness can be multiplied, unfaithfulness can be multiplied.
- Set aside some time today to search the Scriptures for biblical measures of faithfulness.
- Pray with another believer for an opportunity to be faithful by boldly sharing your faith.
- Make a list of some gifts God has entrusted to you. Think of one way you can use those gifts for God’s people or mission this week.