No Room for Timidity

Day 295

Jeremiah 39:1-41:18; 2 Timothy 1:1-18; Psalm 90:1-91:16; Proverbs 26:1-2

No Room for Timidity

In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he encourages Timothy to follow his example and be aware of the responsibility he assumes to carry on the Word and the Gospel. He emphasizes that we should not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord but join with him in suffering for the Gospel.

What is our responsibility toward the Gospel? Is this ministry only for the ordained, or do all Christians have a responsibility? Paul reminds us: “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline, Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me” (1 Timothy 1:7-8).

Most of us are bold in things of the world in business or social interactions. We do not hesitate to make bold moves to protect our interests in this arena. But when it comes to revealing our faith in the simple words of, “God bless you,” “Jesus loves you,” or “God is good,” we only say those to other known Christians. Have we become so timid in the faith? Paul is speaking to all of us to measure our faith in proclaiming the Gospel not only with our deeds but with our lips, and to abandon timidity.

We cannot do anything through our works to gain salvation. That was given to us by God’s grace through Jesus Christ who abolished death. Don’t think this means that we shouldn’t do good works. When we reach out to others with care and concern, it is because we are so grateful to God for His gift of salvation through His Son that we feel compelled to share that blessing.

Let us continue to do all the good works for our fellow man, but also shoulder the responsibility to proclaim the gospel to him. In this way, all may come to know Christ and be resurrected in Him.

Norma Ragsdale
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church
Lake Mary, FL

Guard the Deposit of Faith

Day 294

Jeremiah 37:1-38:28; 1 Timothy 6:1-21; Psalm 89:38-52; Proverbs 25:28

Guard the Deposit of Faith

Paul’s final charge to Timothy is to “guard the deposit entrusted to you” (6:21). As a minister of the Gospel, Timothy is being sent into a battle on the front lines for the very Gospel itself. He needs strong encouragement to see the importance of the task and ministry with which he has been entrusted.

The need for Paul’s letter was occasioned for two main reasons: geography and time. First, Paul was simply not able to be in more than one place at a time. The delegation of leadership to others was an essential task for Paul if there was to be a geographically broad gospel movement. As Paul traveled on his missionary journeys moving from region to region, city to city, town to town, many new congregations were planted. New leadership had to be developed in each region, city, and town. Coordination and support of those various congregations also became mission-critical for the gospel.

The second issue was related to time. Paul was always keenly aware that his days of “fruitful ministry” were numbered. The issue of succession was critically important to Paul as he empowered Timothy to lead and then to identify and empower more leaders for the churches.

In this way, we see the first examples of succession and delegation at work in the church in the personal and pastoral relationship between Timothy and Paul. For Paul, the issue is not merely the passing of a torch humanly speaking, but for him it was critically important that the content and character of the gospel be guarded in order that it may be passed on faithfully to the next generation of leaders.

As each generation considers its own faith, it must also keep in mind the needs of the next generation of believers. We are given a sacred trust in the gospel of Jesus Christ, a trust to be guarded that it may be faithfully conveyed.

In what ways are you delegating and passing on the deposit of faith which has been entrusted to you?

The Rev. Charlie Holt
The Church of St. John the Divine
Houston, TX

Too Much Honey

Day 293

Jeremiah 35:1-36:32; 1 Timothy 5:1-25; Psalm 89:14-37; Proverbs 25:25-27

Too Much Honey

Solomon’s wisdom has given much insight into the downfalls of man. In today’s passage in Proverbs, he gives three important wisdom statements that apply to each and every one of us. He begins with telling of the importance of good news which is like cool water and finishes with warning us that it is not good to eat too much honey.

Honey has been used for generations as a source of sweetness and medicinal uses.  Although it is all-natural, it must be used in moderation. When one consumes too much honey, a process can occur in the body which includes an inability to absorb nutrients and can even cause great discomfort. This condition will continue to worsen if the problem is not corrected. In infants, it is dangerous to eat any honey as it contains botulism spores which an infant’s digestive system is too immature to handle.

Solomon uses this picture to help us understand what happens when we find ourselves thinking too highly of ourselves. Although it is good to have self-confidence, if we find ourselves “eating too much honey,” we can become so absorbed in ourselves that we lose the ability to listen and absorb the wisdom and teaching of those around us.

Emily Tallman
St. Peter’s Church
Lake Mary, FL