Pam and I meet one evening each week with three other couples, all dear friends, primarily to pray but also to share what's going on in our lives. We began this practice during the pandemic and it has continued. We meet by Zoom because we live in different towns. Last week, one friend shared a passage from 2 Timothy that he had found interesting and challenging. I asked what it meant and we all thought about it but didn't come up with a consensus, so I’ve been pondering it prayerfully for the past few days. Here’s the passage:
You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 2:1 (New International Version)
Here are two other translations: the New Living Translation says, "Timothy, my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ." The English Standard Version says, "You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus." I like all three translations, don't you? This is Paul's final letter to Timothy, a younger man he had mentored in ministry. Timothy had been called into pastoral ministry in the pagan city of Ephesus. In the previous chapter, Paul reminds Timothy of his responsibilities among the local churches to teach, protect, serve, and care for the people of God. In 2 Tim. 1:13-14, Paul writes, "What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us." Paul’s direction to this young pastor is summed up in today's passage. We might combine these three translations to say, "Be strong in the grace, be strong through the grace, be strengthened by the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus." The strength that Timothy—and everyone else who is a child of God—is exhorted to tap into, is the supernatural strength that comes only from God. God has promised you and me that He will supply all of the strength and ability we need for the tasks He gives us. Not because of anything that we have done to deserve it, but because of the unmerited favor that has become our portion in Jesus. This morning, I want to encourage you to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and be empowered to help and encourage others whom God has placed in your life.
Through His grace you have everything you need to do what He has called you to do...and that's very Good News!