Timothy was a young pastor who had been mentored by Paul the Apostle, and as Paul saw his life drawing to a close, he wrote a personal letter to Timothy both to encourage him and to give him a charge, a charge to keep. When we see our world crumbling around us, it is hard for us to keep our focus on what is really important, living our lives for Christ and doing what we can to spread His kingdom. At some point in our life, and maybe at many points in our life, our world WILL crumble around us, so we need to heed Paul’s charge to Timothy to stay the course and keep up the good work.
4 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the Word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 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, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth 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. (2 Timothy 4:1-8)
Paul was in prison in Rome, and as he penned this last letter, he knew that his time was short. From the time of his conversion on the road to Damascus, Paul had been faithful to the Gospel, and even though he had suffered many trials, he had also established several churches throughout the known world. He had left Timothy in Ephesus to pastor that church, and he longed to see Timothy again.
False doctrine had crept into the church at Ephesus, and it would have been easy for Timothy to abandon the cause and to throw up his hands in surrender, but Paul counselled him to stay the course. People would walk away from the church because the teachings weren’t to their liking. We see splits like that all the time in churches large and small. The “prosperity-gospel” and “name it and claim it” religion are drawing huge crowds of people wanting God to be their “sugar-daddy“.
As a writer and blogger, I get discouraged because some of my posts seem to fall as flat as the Pharisee’s prayer. It is one thing to have many “followers” but something quite different to actually have active, engaged and engaging readers. No, I am not out to win some kind of “popularity–contest“, because this blog is to God’s glory, not mine. I track my stats to see what you are reading, not to “steer” the direction of my writing. I write what I believe that I should and need to write about as the “inspiration” hits me, sometimes at midnight.
As Paul counselled Timothy, his counsel applies to me as well. I must stay the course, living my life for Christ and doing what I can to help the spread of God’s kingdom. I have a charge to keep, so I don’t plan to go away anytime soon.