November 5

2 Timothy 4:1-3 1In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction. 3For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

Paul knew the anointing and calling upon Timothy's life. He also knew Timothy could be timid and hesitant to share. That may be why he gave him this charge while declaring that it was before God the Judge and the soon to appear Christ and His kingdom.

He entrusted Timothy with the duty of preaching the Word of God, not only when it was in his schedule, but whenever there was opportunity. He said it was his responsibility to use the Word in all the ways it was meant to be used, for correcting, rebuking, and encouraging. As a timid person Timothy would probably enjoy encouraging others, so Paul put correcting and rebuking before encouragement in his list. When we know there is a weakness or something we avoid because of our personality, we need to make the effort to put it first.

He also told him to use the gift of preaching with great patience and careful instruction. Preachers can become very impatient while watching their flock's slow progress. Careful instruction will help them progress more rapidly, but it still requires much patience.

He warned that a time was coming when people would pick and choose those they listened to by the criteria of whether or not the preaching was what they desire to hear. We are in that day. Sheep will run from the shepherd that corrects and rebukes to find those that won't challenge them to forsake their sin. They have pet doctrines that they emphasize above the command of Jesus to love one another. They can find them on the radio, TV, and in the pulpit. Notice the verse wording, "a great number."

Prayer: Lord help us desire the truth of the Word, especially when it is convicting or correcting us.