I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.
2 Timothy 4:1-2
Without any doubt, this scripture is being directed to Timothy by Paul as a “pastor to pastor” admonition, but in it are many things that pertain to all of us as Christians. Here are some thoughts based on these verses:
- We are all in the presence of God and He sees and knows all things about us.
- God will judge the living and the dead. All of us will certainly stand before Him and give an account of our lives; those who reject Christ as their Savior and Lord will stand before the great white throne of judgment, and those who are believers, before the throne of Christ.
- All things belong to God since He created all things and it is His kingdom. We shall all give an account of what we have done with His stuff in His kingdom.
- Jesus has appeared to the world and all people are without excuse who choose to reject the gospel message of grace and forgiveness that He offers.
- We should all be ready to serve God “in season” (when it is convenient and looks like the time is right), as well as “out of season” (when it is difficult and does not look like the right time for things). Our job is to trust and obey God no matter how things look or what our reasoning tells us. This is living the “life of faith”.
- A pastor is to reprove (reprimand/censure), rebuke (sharp criticism) and exhort (strongly encourage) the church by preaching with great patience and instruction. Pastors need to exercise love in their preaching as patience is the first descriptor of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4, along with instruction on how to live out what God desires for us. These admonitions to Timothy on how to preach also indicates that God wants preaching that is not wimpy and without substance just to make people feel good about themselves, but preaching that raises up disciples who will faithfully follow Christ. We all need this patient instruction that has power and authority behind it to challenge us and to teach us how to live righteously; pastors need this ministry of the word for themselves as much as the people they serve in their congregation.
Who is sufficient for this high calling of preaching His Word? Well I certainly am not worthy by any attributes of my own, but I do so as I believe God has called me to this “ministry of proclamation” for His purposes, and not mine. My job is to abide in Christ and let Him use me as He desires by staying ready for His opportunities to serve. I believe this sounds like what He wants for all who are disciples/students of Christ, whether we are preachers in a church or not. Jesus used parables to teach the need for readiness for all who follow Him, and I believe it is something we all need to live by. Be ready for whatever God has for you both “in season” and “out of season”!
Love in Christ,
Pastor Gary Houdek