Monday, November 8, 2010
2 Timothy 4 ( Preach the word)
Elder Robert Shaw and his companion with fellow saints in the
Angeles, Philippines Mission 2002-2004
In May of 2002, my son Robert left the United States for the Philippines. He took Paul's charge to Timothy to "preach the word".(2) He took to heart and chose to serve two years preaching, so that like Paul, he could work to thwart the turning away of honest ears from the truth(4). He worked to keep the truth from turning "into fables"(4).
As I read Paul's words to Timothy this second time before he is brought before Nero(footnote), I could hear in his plea a sense of for-longing for his missionary companions that forsook their mission of Christ for "this present world"(10-15) I could hear his faith resounding in his words of hope that reminded himself and Timothy of the "crown of righteousness"(8) that awaits those who "reprove, rebuke and exhort with long-suffering and doctrine"(2).
I thought of the visit that my husband and I paid to our son at the close of his mission. He introduced us to all of his dear friends that he had taught and loved. I remembered the sacrifices and the lives that he saw changed as he helped those who "withstood words"(15) learn how to "endure sound doctrine"(3).
Serving a mission for Christ is not an easy choice. It requires learning how to "do the work"(v5) and an ever watching "in all things"( 5). Paul prepares Timothy and all who choose to serve that you will need to learn how to "endure afflictions"(5) and work to "make full-proof of they ministry" (5), or finish the work. It requires learning how to separate "lusts" from "love", to put a stop to "itching ears", and how to say like Paul with conviction, "I have kept the faith" (vs 7).
My son learned to love his companions as well as those whom he taught. While there we met the Go family, whose son was an endeared companion of our son. From Elder Go, my son learned the nuances of the Philippine culture, the Tagalog language, how to prepare the food, and so many life long lessons that only Elder Go would be able to teach him. From the people of the Philippines my son learned humility, grace, strength, and what it means to live on faith. He saw lives changed, covenants made, and the light of hope take refuge within the eyes of those who believed in Christ.
While in the Philippines, he built great friendships with other missionaries who supported and did the work "diligently"( 9). But I believe the greatest relationship that he or anyone who embarks on this course is with our Savior. Paul speaks of how though so many of his companions had forsaken him while he was in prision, he still was able to pray that it "will not be laid to their charge"(16). But mostly he learned that "the Lord stood with me", and the Lord "strengthened me"(17).
Now as our son has returned and as many of us have gone on with our lives "in this present world", it is Paul's hope that Timothy and all of those who serve God, will understand that in serving we are promised to be "delivered from every evil work"(18). We are promised our "heavenly kingdom" where Christ Jesus will reign in glory "for ever and ever." It is here that we must learn to forsake the present world and seek that truth that Paul suffered for.
Paul had a mission to teach to the Gentiles, "that the Gentiles might here".
Each of us has a mission, "a charge" to "be instant in the season" and not let the truth pass us by.
Today I will ponder what is my charge? Is it not to do as Paul did and preach and endure sound doctrine?
Breakdown of verses
1-2 - Paul charges to preach the word
3-5 He speaks of an upcoming apostasy where men will seek after their own lusts
6-7 Reconciliation for his fight
10-15 Lonliness Loyalty, forsaken
17- 18 Lord's Support