2 Timothy 4:2, 5 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
2 Timothy is clearly the last of Paul’s letters that we have, and is evidence of a life well and fully spent in service to Jesus Christ the Lord. This section of the letter is particularly poignant as he expresses his desires for Timothy, his son in faith. As such, it is a fitting charge to every minister of the Gospel. It would be possible to have a full semester course in seminary on just these two verses! One way they could be summarized is, “No excuses.” Not circumstances, nor personality, nor gifting is to stand in the way of fulfilling your commission. We tend to become very adept at making excuses, but the Lord sees through them all. After all, He is the one who made us and gifted us and He knows every detail about us, down to the number of hairs on our heads. (Matthew 10:30) It is entirely appropriate to ask Him for wisdom, anointing, strength, and simple endurance for the circumstances in which we find ourselves, but complaining and excuses should be out of the picture. The section between these two verses sounds like a description of people today, which is an indication that the task really hasn’t changed much over the centuries. We need to remember that God is still God, and walk in faithfulness and trust.
I am possibly older than Paul was when he wrote this, and I really identify with his desire to communicate it to the next generation. I have spiritual children who are in active ministry right now, and I have more who are preparing, and frankly, I want them to do better than I did! Actually, I want every one of my spiritual children to realize that they are called and sent by God, whether that means being a “full-time Christian minister” or not. After all, I have lived on “ministry income” for only two out of almost 40 years! I am to lead and teach by example, recognizing that any good they might get from me doesn’t originate in me, but in our heavenly Father. (James 1:17) I, myself, am to be obedient to this charge from Paul for as long as the Lord keeps me here. I don’t have any premonition of imminent termination the way Paul did, but I have no less reason to be faithful. I know from experience that I can’t do it in my own strength and wisdom, but I also know from experience that God can and will do it through me, if I will allow Him to do so.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for the privilege of serving You, and for raising up others to do so as well. May we be faithfully obedient in all things, so that You purposes may be accomplished in and through us for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!