2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
This verse is often quoted to young ministers, seeking to set them on the right course for their future ministry, but we tend to forget that it applies equally to old ministers! There is the risk, over time, of taking things for granted, of assuming that you’re doing things right, and so wandering away from dedication to God’s truth. Every preacher must realize that the words they speak apply to them first, and aren’t just for their audience. That sort of deception is what leads into all sorts of sin, particularly sexual and financial. When those are exposed it is a major scandal, but it all starts with a failure to apply this verse to yourself. We tend to worry about the approval of people, and if we can hide our sins from them, avoiding their disapproval, we think we’re OK. This verse is a reminder that our Employer is God, not the church board or anyone else, and it is first of all to Him that we are accountable. Anyone who purports to express or explain the Word of God had better keep learning, humbly realizing that they don’t have the whole picture. The commitment to God needs to be constant and complete. My father had a saying that has been widely quoted in evangelism, but which still applies to the oldest Christian: “Give all you know of yourself to all you know of Christ.” The longer we live, the more we learn about ourselves, and the longer we walk with Christ, the more we learn of Him. Life has a way of showing us that what we thought was total commitment wasn’t so total, because it was made on the basis of incomplete information. That’s why we need to keep renewing our commitment daily, as we grow in knowledge of ourselves and of the Lord.
I had the incredible privilege of being raised by the man who created that slogan, and he lived by it. In my observation he kept growing all his life, learning more of himself and more of his Lord and maintaining full commitment. I could do no better. Going back to this verse from Paul, it’s been many years now since I realized that my ultimate goal in life and in eternity is to hear my Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21) For that to happen I’ve got to apply this verse fully and consistently, not with my own wisdom and power, because those are totally inadequate, but with God’s, for His glory.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Help me maintain the humility that is so essential, so that I will be able to hear and obey You at all times in all ways, for Your will to be done on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!