A Stewardship Meditation by Ron Felder
They’re everywhere. Books that will help you learn new skills, better understand the world around you, and even help you feel better about your personality. Go into any bookstore or library and you will find a large area devoted to books of this type. Although I suppose in our current pandemic, you may be more likely to visit the associated web sites rather the actual bookstore or library. Each book contains a litany of tips and tricks, mnemonic phrases, and even formulas designed to help you help yourself by improving some aspect of your capabilities, personality, or knowledge.
In this scripture reading, Paul is midway through his second letter to Timothy. Paul sees Timothy as one of the new generation of leaders that will ensure the Christian church continues to spread across the known world. Now that Paul is in prison, Paul is providing Timothy with fatherly advice so that Timothy can continue to spread the ministry. Paul asks Timothy to notice how Paul lived his life: his teachings, his conduct, his faith, his patience and his steadfastness. Paul notes that for all he did, he was persecuted and suffered for it. Paul mused that “all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”; declaring to Timothy, in case he didn’t already know, that he was destined to be persecuted for his dedication to Christ. But in the very next phrase, Paul declares that the Lord rescued him from every persecution he faced. Paul doesn’t explicitly say how the Lord rescued him; however, he declares to Timothy “continue in what you have learned” and “from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus”. He goes on to say that scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. Essentially Paul tells Timothy that scripture has been his key to salvation and that Timothy should use scripture as his guidebook for living a righteous life in Christ.
We want to improve. We want to learn new skills, we want to better understand the world around us, and we want to improve our relationship with God through Christ. Let’s take Paul’s advice to Timothy and apply it to our own lives. Commit to a daily discipline of reading scripture and then examine our lives and discuss how scripture applies and can apply to us and the world around us. In a matter of speaking, Holy Scripture is the ultimate self-help text; designed to help us live a righteous life in Christ.