Text: 2 Timothy; Psalm 119:129-144
The two letters to Timothy were written by the apostle Paul to his young protégé as Timothy was serving as pastor of the church in Ephesus. The city was important and prosperous, and the work the Lord was doing there vital, so Timothy had great responsibility. Paul’s words to him as his spiritual “father” (Paul had led Timothy to the Lord and thence into service of the King) stand as true and essential instructions to every pastor and ministry leader through the ages.
As a pastor, I refer to 1 and 2 Timothy often. As always, God’s Word is fresh and new every time, and as I read these words again, 2 Timothy 2:24-26 grabbed my attention:
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
I confess that I am usually in the mode of getting stuff done. When there is an obstacle, my instinct is to go over under around or through it. When I read these words, and see “patiently” and “gentleness”, all I can say is “ouch.” Far too often, these virtues are far, far away when evil and opposition are around. What a wonderful reminder that, when these two fruits of the Spirit, patience and gentleness (sing the song in your head or look up Galatians 5:22-23) are in the mix, the goal of repentance and “escape from the snare of the devil” is closer, not farther away. I pray that I may recall these words the next time I am frustrated by an obstacle in ministry. Patience! Gentleness! That “God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”
Amen. in Him, Mike