There are so many passages on last days and the second coming of Christ in these letters…
Over the last year, I have begun challenging myself to know scripture better. Growing up a pastor’s kid I’ve read a lot and heard a lot, but I don’t know where to find a lot of the verses or passages that I want right when I need them. Part of learning has been specific memorization, but a lot has come from just reading consistently. The more often you read the more familiar you become! It makes it easier, then, just as Paul told Timothy, to live out what you know.
Also, since the scripture is fit for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness (3:16), Timothy is then able to actually fulfil the role that Paul asks him to. He is equipped because of what he has read, learned, and now knows.
As a side note, Paul seems almost desperate for Timothy to come to him. It is easy to see why when he explains how he is alone, which is kind of sad. Again, though, he continues to focus on how through what he is doing even know, Christ is glorified. Such faith.
I am not ashamed of the name above all names
For it has the power to heal and to save
A strength for the weary, peace to the troubled soul.
Peace to the troubled soul.
It’s the name of Jesus. It’s the name of Jesus.
Mightier than mountains, He lives among the weak.
Ruler eternal, a lover to me.
Jesus, name above all. Jesus, name above all.
– Name Above All (Vineyard)
I was reminded of the lyrics of this song as I was reading Paul’s writing. In so many circles I’m a part of, it isn’t hard to be unashamed. Actually, it is easier to be unashamed of the gospel than it is to be ashamed of it! Clearly that isn’t the situation Paul is talking about here. It is the times when we are out and about and the name of Jesus is not looked upon with favour. These are the times when we actually need the reminder of who it is we serve. The challenge to pursue the higher things like faith, love, and peace.
Paul somehow figured out how to latch onto the hope he found in Christ so that it was real to him every day. Whether he was embraced by people or persecuted heavily, he was able to rest in knowing that God had called him to do these works to further the glory and gospel of Christ. I think that it is this reason that Paul is a role model to so many. His ability to rely on Christ in all times.
And the three post catch-up begins…and trying to follow the “shorter-length” rules.
This passage reminded me about the various things that we do as followers of Jesus. The centre of the passage has the “Rich Young Man” who follows the law, but is told that he must give away everything he has and follow Jesus to inherit eternal life. To this he’s rather upset because he was rich. I heard a sermon this weekend about how the body of believers are supposed to share all that we have to be one in body and mind (Acts 4:32). The concept that he used was that everything we have is “God’s dollar”given to us for our enjoyment and that when we are content with what we have received (salvation) we are able to share because our needs are met (2 Timothy 6:17-19). When things excessive of our “basic needs” become things we need, we begin to hold onto those tightly and are unable to give.
I think that this concept plays into the other aspects of the passage as well. If we are finding our satisfaction in Christ alone, then hypothetically we shouldn’t even breach the desire for grounds of divorce. I think this also would have helped James and John in their plight for being “best” in the kingdom because they would have had satisfaction in serving on earth. We don’t deserve anything in the coming life, but God still deserves all of us today.
Lastly, the labourers in the vineyard passage in conjunction with the “Rich Young Man” changes how I’ve always heard the “last shall be first” statement interpreted. We are wrong to assume we deserve more of a reward based on our time we have been Christians, we all fail miserably but we are still given a part of paradise!
So the challenge … are you content?