This makes me think of that song from Disney’s The Lion King. That crazy uncle Scar sang it to all his hyena friends, the traitor. But there’s a message from that song we can take, in a way. It’s kind of a stretch to say so, but in his preparation to successfully take over the kingdom from his brother, he was getting them ready for the job to be done and what his evil reign would look like.
It makes me wonder…are we prepared for the true King and His righteous reign? Better yet, are we prepared to help get others prepared for it? It’d be nice to know when the King is coming. But since we don’t, and it could be any day, shouldn’t it bring about some kind of urgency to prepare the unbelieving so they will begin to believe? Shouldn’t we feel a burning desire within us to prepare for the coming of the King of kings ourselves as well as prepare others?
Still in 2 Timothy. But I’ve reached the final chapter (4) and have come to the conclusion of the letter. These are Paul’s last words to Timothy in writing. Winter is coming and Paul left his coat in some other city. In spite of the urgency of his need for warmth, there’s a recognition of his end drawing near. His last charge come deep within, from all his conviction and all his reasons for his ministry comes the charge to preach. Let them know. Give them Truth. Preach the Word. And be ready.
Many of us understand that this mentor’s instructions are meant for the young preacher. But Paul speaks to all of us in some way through this verse. Our lives should proclaim the message of grace to those around us. If you’re a parent, you should be training your children in Christ to know Him. If you’re a teacher or leader, you also have a responsibility to train others to know God. So the rest of verse 2 can apply to us as well.
Be ready. Prepare. Not only ready when you need to be, but also when there’s nothing else going on. Be ready.
How can God entrust something to us if we’re not ready for it?
Have you every prayed to God asking for an opportunity to share your faith with someone? Have you asked Him to give you strength to do the right thing? God does give us opportunity. Someone shows up in our lives sometime, one who desperately needs shown the love of God through us. For some reason, we back down or are completely oblivious to it. When we ask God for strength, He gives us opportunity to rely on His strength. But do we notice it? I believe we’ve all become accustomed to what we do, our culture, and the way things work. And hence, we miss the opportunity. We blaze right by it because we’re not used to God’s power being at work. We don’t notice it, especially in our speech. We use words carelessly and justify it by labeling it sarcasm. I’m asking myself just as much as I am you, how can God use you in that? How can we possibly be His useful tool for His Kingdom the way we truly desire to be used by Him if that’s a part of our lives, if He’s not the whole of our lives?
Everything in 2 Timothy leads up to this point. Everything Paul spent time writing to Him about sticking to the Word, being grounded in it and proclaiming it and handling it rightly, hanging in there when it’s difficult, believing God to be true to His Word, and becoming that useful vessel to God all lead up to this charge. Preach the Word. Be prepared to do it.
This requires work, which a lot of us just don’t want to do. We hire people and bring people to church to do the work for us. We don’t have all the answers, we know it, and pride ourselves in it so we won’t have to search for anything ourselves. We’re timid. And I think that if we’re not prepared to share, we truly don’t know God very well at all. Then we end up moving on toward something else, things we like rather than things that are true. If we’re not prepared to share, it’s because our relationship with God isn’t very deep. The true God-worshiper seeks Him and is ready. (I sure have a long way to go in my relationship with Him.)
Then we get back to those things I mentioned earlier. If we’re not truly seeking God and developing our relationship to begin with, God won’t entrust us with the keys to the Kingdom. People won’t listen because they have no reason to. If we’re not prepared in this way, what else should we expect? It’s the same with everything. If she’s not prepared for the job, she won’t get it. If he’s not prepared to teach the class, no one will pay attention and he’ll even feel like a failure. If he’s not prepared to mature a little, he won’t receive any responsibility because he won’t be able to handle. If we’re not prepare to share the gospel, why would God give us the opportunity?
And yet He does anyway! It helps us prepare. All it takes in one question. But we must ask ourselves this: Do I want it? Underneath this question is one that runs much deeper: Do I want God?
It’s easy for us to listen to things we like. We get in the car and turn on the radio and begin listening to our favorite style of music. When we sit down in front of the television, we turn on the shows we that fit our taste. When we make our suppers we usually fix something that will dance around on our tastebuds with pleasure. When it comes to faith, because God gives us a choice in choosing Him or not, it’s easy to let go of God and His Truth and grab on to something that sounds easier or “better” than what He offers. Sometimes His Word doesn’t tickle our ears very much, but rather stings it like a bee flying around. The difference is truth versus untruth, salvation versus judgment, joy versus fleeting happiness, and comfort versus unending sorrow.
When we get to a point where we no longer view it necessary to prepare to share, we get to a dangerous place of finding people who claim to preach the Word, but spread falsehood instead. It feels good to hear. We want to hear that God wants us to be healthy, wealthy, and wise. We want to hear that His blessings are financial. We want to hear that God gives us a checklist of things to do on how to be a better person if we look in His Word and find out. But none of those things are entirely true. It’d be nice, but those are twisted truths that tickle our ears.
Be prepared. Be ready. Start with seeking Him so you know. Paul tells Timothy to be sober in all things. It’s easier to remain sober when we’re not drinking the alcoholic teachings of the world. Sure, the buzz feels good, and it may be fun for a time, but there’ll be a price to pay in the end.
Let me share verses 6-8 with you. Take comfort in this:
For I am already being <sup style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; line-height: normal; vertical-align: top;" value="(A)”>poured out as a drink offering, and the time of <sup style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; line-height: normal; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”>my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished <sup style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; line-height: normal; vertical-align: top;" value="(D)”>the course, I have kept <sup style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; line-height: normal; vertical-align: top;" value="(E)”>the faith; in the future there <sup style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; line-height: normal; vertical-align: top;" value="(F)”>is laid up for me <sup style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; line-height: normal; vertical-align: top;" value="(G)”>the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on <sup style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; line-height: normal; vertical-align: top;" value="(H)”>that day; and not only to me, but also to <sup style="font-size: 0.65em; line-height: normal; vertical-align: top;" value="(I)”>all who have loved His <sup style="font-size: 0.65em; line-height: normal; vertical-align: top;" value="(J)”>appearing.2 Timothy 4:6-8 (NASB)