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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Today’s Scripture Reading | 2 Timothy 1:8–14

Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher, and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him. Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us. (NRSV)

Reflection
“Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.”

These last two verses particularly caught my eye. Paul, the great teacher, is old and imprisoned. He reminds Timothy that there is still much to do. There is truth to seek and a church to unite.

I teach teachers as a career. Sound teaching is based on the concept that knowledge and understanding are in a constant state of refinement. Ideas—understandings if you will—have been entrusted to me by my teachers. I believe that it is my job to pass these on not simply as I understood them from my teachers, holding firm to the one way of doing things, but with any additional understanding I have gleaned in my twenty years of practicing my profession as teacher. Knowledge evolves as humans do. Understanding becomes deeper across time and generations. This is what Paul wants Timothy to understand, I think. To hold true to the standard as set forth in the Christ—acceptance, understanding, and loving as actions not simply as words or tokens.

I don’t know about you but my understanding now is very different from that of my youth. This may be the nature of God’s truth in the world. As we age, our understanding becomes more refined. As we learn, our questions become more refined. We don’t find as many answers, but we develop much better questions.

The standard is that of Christ. Who is included in Christ’s love, how that love and acceptance is made manifest, and how we as Christians should live into the manifest love of God are measured against a standard that challenges us daily.

Prayer
Standard for the Faith, let me never become complacent in my journey for understanding. Let my actions show your love and your compassion, as I understand them today. Help me seek to more fully understand them each day. In this season of Lent, help me continue to discover and live up to the standard set by Christ. Soli Deo Gloria.

Written by Rob Sinclair, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church


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