Things Worth Passing On
Paul’s second letter to Timothy is the culminating message from the aged preacher to his young counterpart. It is, in every sense of the analogy, the passing of Paul’s torch to Timothy, his final message of hope, endurance, and salvation in the waning days of his earthly existence. Often, when I ponder my own death, whenever it may take place, I think about what I would say to my children, my grandchildren, or younger Christians who have labored with me in the kingdom. I suppose nothing would be more suitable than following Paul’s pattern. In this article, I would like to consider some of the primary themes found in 2 Timothy.
Pass It On
“The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2). Often, we measure the totality of our life’s work by the number of people we have impacted somehow. We hate to think of the possibility that we are leaving this life with untapped potential, unmet expectations, or people who we should have helped. Like a sporting event, we should “leave everything on the field”, and never keep the Gospel to ourselves.
Have A High Pain Tolerance
“Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:3). This statement reminds Timothy that he is not alone in the battle, and that others are enduring alongside him. He is in good company when he faces trials, temptations, and torment. After all, Jesus Himself states, “You will be hated by all on account of My name” (Matthew 10:22). Christians are often compared to soldiers in the scriptures (Romans 6:13, Ephesians 6:10-18, 1 Peter 2:11).
Play By the Rules
“And also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules” (2 Timothy 2:5). Clearly there is a carnal application to this truth, but Paul’s primary concern was Timothy’s spiritual journey. His point, then, is that Timothy’s participation in the affairs of life must be abutted by God’s rules. Jesus makes the same point clear in Matthew 7:21-23. The Christian, therefore, must not feel that he or she is above or exempt from following the Bible in any area.
Remember God’s Promises
“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendent of David, according to my gospel” (2 Timothy 2:8). God keeps all of His promises, and one of the most poignant ways to keep things in perspective in life is to recall the great deeds of God. Read the Psalms sometime and you will see that great comfort came to the Israelites in their times of suffering by remembering God’s lovingkindness (Psalm 104, 105, 106, 114, 135).