Thursday, 3 May 2018
But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:5
Paul now returns to Timothy as a contrast to those described in verses 3 & 4. In verse 2, he had said, “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.” It was then that he described why he should do that. It was concerning those described in verses 3 & 4. Beginning with the word “But” here is to contrast them, and to complete the exhortations now that the description of those people has been provided. Therefore, he says, “But you be watchful in all things.”
The word translated as “watchful” literally means, “to be sober.” Here he is using it figuratively to indicated having a presence of mind which involves clear judgment, to remain rational, and to steer clear of intoxicating influences such as passion, greed, and the like. He is to act this way in “all things.” No part of his walk should be overlooked, but he was to remain circumspect in all ways.
Paul then tells him to “endure afflictions.” It is a single Greek word first used in 2 Timothy 2:9. It gives the sense of continuing on through painful hardships which may seem to be a setback to the progress being made, but which really aren’t. Nothing occurs apart from God’s knowledge, and so even the evils we suffer are given to instruct us, mold us, and refine us – if we will so allow them to work as such.
After this, Timothy is admonished to “do the work of an evangelist.” This simply and exactingly is asking Timothy to “preach the gospel.” It is what he was told to do in verse 2, and it is reexplained to him here. An evangelist was to proclaim sound doctrine, teach properly, and stick to the truth – exactly the opposite of what those described in verses 3 & 4 were looking for. In other words, even if the world calls out for meaningless, misguided messages of mushy ministers, Timothy was to continue to evangelize with soundness. It hearkens back to Noah whom Peter calls a “preacher of righteousness” despite the entire world following a different path. Timothy was to follow in that same path as Noah. He, and all who follow him, should be willing to put the true gospel forth at all times.
Finally, Paul says to him, “fulfill your ministry.” The word here “is used of God’s power bringing the believer to maximum potential, ‘matching’ their true knowledge of Him” (HELPS Word Studies). Timothy is exhorted to bear the work of God to it fullest extent. Every fiber of him was to be exerted, even to maximum capacity.
Life application: Though these words are directed to Timothy, and thus to all ministers, should any believer in Christ do any less than pursue the path directed by Paul? This doesn’t mean that everyone should leave their lives to become ministers, but that everyone can use their lives as if ministers. We should all be looking for opportunities to share the word, endure the afflictions associated with that, and fulfill our calling in Christ. Onward!
Lord God, we are saved by what Jesus did. As this is so, how can we hold back sharing this good news with others? If we truly believe we are saved, that means we were saved “from” something. A person drowning in the ocean isn’t concerned about a new car. Rather, he is concerned about life and breath. Many are in an ocean of sin, leading to death. Help us to be willing to share the news that can get them out of it. To Your glory we pray. Amen.