It seems too early for this, but snow is falling in the Northwoods, and the very beginning of winter reminds me of the need for courage. And, you know, the great thing about courage is that it can be passed on to others.
The Apostle Paul knew this. Just weeks from his homegoing to Jesus, he suffered in a Roman prison. But, he was all about what needed to happen next in the church of Jesus. He spent those weeks (as is evident in the chapters of 2 Timothy) instructing Timothy, the younger follower of Jesus. Guard the good deposit entrusted to you (1.15). Treasure the gospel, Timothy. And now, in 2 Timothy 2.1-13: … what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
Courage for living comes from entrusting the gospel to others with endurance.
These chapters from Paul’s final book encourage us at Woodland! They’re encouraging, because they remind us that following Jesus is actually hard, and future generations are going to come to Christ by means of our difficult work in the gospel.
They also encourage us, because everybody we know struggles. And these chapters give us truth to point to: … we will also live with him … we will also reign with him … and he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself (:11-13).
So, come on, Timothy. Entrust the gospel to others with endurance. And, come on, Woodland church family. Endure the difficulty in the work God has given us. There is courage for life, in the gospel of Jesus!
For those of us in small groups, here’s some questions for discussion:
- What picture comes to your mind when you consider verse 2 and Paul’s instructions to entrust the gospel (“what you heard from me”) to “faithful men who will be able to teach others”. What kind of work is Paul proposing?
- How do verses 3-13 illustrate and provide examples for what the business of entrusting the gospel to others will require?
- How do the illustrations of soldier, athlete and farmer illustrate endurance through suffering? How do the examples of Jesus, Paul and faithful followers of Jesus provide examples of endurance through suffering?
- How is our church family working to entrust the gospel to others? Where do we see the need to endure through suffering?
- How has God used this passage to provide you (or your family or small group) courage for living?