As we read 2 Timothy, we find a number of ways Timothy could actively grow in, and express his faith as a trustworthy worker:
1) Guard the good deposit – Paul wrote, “What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.” (2 Timothy 1:13–14) Timothy was to guard the pattern of sound teaching, the truth of the gospel Paul had given him.
2) Fan into flame the gift of God – Paul wrote, “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” (2 Timothy 1:6) Part of the wonderful provision of God is that he gives each of us gifts. So Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.” Paul listed some of the gifts, prophesy serving, teaching, encouragement, giving, leading and showing mercy. This isn’t a complete list, rather it is representative of the diverse range of gifts God dispenses among us. Whatever our gift, we are to fan it into flame. We are to keep the gift alive, ablaze, using it and nurturing it.
3) “… pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22) This is not an individual pursuit. It is to be undertaken with others, alongside those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart! With the support of our church family we find extra strength and encouragement knowing we are not alone. As we pursue these characteristics, one extreme is that we push too hard for high performance, the other is that we do too little. We are to pursue these but not at the cost of all else as if we are trying to earn salvation. Rather we seek them as a people of Shalom, with the peace, wholeness and flourishing of body, mind and spirit, that is to mark the people of God.
The outcome of being an approved worker, who guards the good deposit, and pursues the things of God is that we become … “useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.” (2 Timothy 2:21) Like Timothy we become Trustworthy Workers. This is what God seeks from us as members of His family. As we engage with this work, we are able to achieve good things together. This is what we see when we look back on the last year of church life and ministry; reliable, trustworthy people, doing all sorts of good through the life God inspires us to live. I pray that in the year ahead, by guarding the good deposit, fanning our gift into flame and pursuing Christian virtues, we may again find ourselves doing good work, being useful and pleasing to God.
Choose one of the characteristics Paul lists and ask God how you might apply it in a good and useful way this week (Faith, love righteousness and peace).
Consider what you might need to do/be in order to be useful to God’s plans and purposes?
Rev John Malcolm