Father in heaven, I long to prepare myself to teach and preach the gospel in season and out of season. Help me today to prepare both my heart and mind so I can be ready for every opportunity You place around me. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Read 2 Timothy 4
We come to the end of Paul’s second letter to Timothy, which he closes with seriousness and urgency. Paul gave Timothy a strong final charge, in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, to preach the Word. He exhorted him to be ready in season and out of season to reprove, rebuke, and exhort with complete patience. In other words, Timothy was to teach when fruit comes naturally and easily (in season) and when fruit seems unnatural or even impossible (out of season).
Paul knew this might be one of his final charges to Timothy. Paul was near the end of his life and ministry, so he took this opportunity to communicate a final heartfelt and urgent exhortation to his beloved friend. He told Timothy that he, Paul, had fought the good fight and kept the faith. So it was time to pass the baton to Timothy, so long as he first gave him this important charge: hold firm to the faithful preaching of the Word.
It’s interesting to note that even as Paul wrote these things, he asked for his books and parchments. He was sitting in a cold prison cell and knew he was at the end of his life. But he didn’t stop fighting. He intended to spend and be spent until his last hours (2 Cor. 12:15).
2 Timothy 4:2
2 Preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
- Someone once said that Christians are to preach the gospel in “out-of-season cultures.” It’s easy to share Christ boldly with someone who is primed and ready to hear. It can be easy to reprove, rebuke, and exhort a fellow believer who tries to walk a life filled with the Spirit of God. But believers are called to go to the ends of the earth and be witnesses (Acts 1:8). That means we are to be ready to preach and teach in cultures that are ready to hear (in season) and cultures that do not seem ready to hear (out of season.) This “being ready” involves preparation. So how are we preparing ourselves for this?
- Who has God strategically placed in your life from an out-of-season culture? Do you have a Muslim neighbor? Is there a family who speaks broken English at your child’s school? Think about people who work at stores you frequent. Chances are very slim that God hasn’t already placed other cultures around you. A first step toward being ready to preach or teach is meeting people! Make a plan to introduce yourself to someone from an out-of-season culture by the end of this week. Write it down, and commit to following through.
- Plan an extended time of solitude and silence this month. Consider one of the following: a morning or evening 2–3 hour period, a personal retreat day, or combining it with a time of fasting. [Spiritual Disciplines]