Get the Word Out | 1 Timothy 4:11-16
Get the word out. Teach all these things. And don’t let anyone put you down because you’re young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity. Stay at your post reading Scripture, giving counsel, teaching. And that special gift of ministry you were given when the leaders of the church laid hands on you and prayed—keep that dusted off and in use. Cultivate these things. Immerse yourself in them. The people will all see you mature right before their eyes! Keep a firm grasp on both your character and your teaching. Don’t be diverted. Just keep at it. Both you and those who hear you will experience salvation. 1 Timothy 4:11-16 | MSG
Getting the word out means more than handing out Bible tracts, loud street preaching or evangelistic sales pitches. It’s a way of life in which our way of life becomes the lectern and pulpit from which all around us hear it, see it. Timothy was evidently young and a bit vulnerable to being intimidated by older, smarter, self-confident types. Paul doesn’t counsel him to challenge such to a stare down. “Teach them with your life,” he says. Loud lessons from quiet living in a demeanor of love, faith, and integrity. Keep reading, he says, keep providing humble counsel, keep sharing what you know in organic, healthy ways. Keep engaging the gifts within you that are unleashed through the reading, through the community, through your quietly unfolding character. In the words of James from yesterday’s reflection, “In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.” This is the ultimate harvest reaped from a lifetime of sowing seeds of hearing and quietly responding to His Voice. People often marvel at my ability to quote, with flair, an entire book of the Bible. I’m really not just being self-deprecating – I mean, I do know how to take a compliment, I do. But parrots can quote books of the Bible. To behold a life genuinely landscaped by God through painstaking and careful hearing of the Word through a lifetime? Now there’s something to marvel at.
If you look at your devotional life, your life and experience in the Word, as a garden, how well landscaped are you? What are the weeds that need to be cleared, the hard pan that needs to be dug up, the dry spots that need to be watered?
Lord, dig ears into my head, landscape me with your Word. Shape my life into a salvation garden that feeds more people in more ways that I could ever anticipate or imagine. Let my manner, my way of life be your pulpit, your lectern, from which you teach others your grace and truth. Through Jesus.
“Give attention to reading.” Carve out a daily niche for reading that draws you deeper into a spiritual walk and encounter with God’s breath. Fifteen minutes in the morning, fifteen minutes at midday, thirty minutes at night may be a place to start. Try it for five days. See what happens.
For all of this week’s resources for this new series on Spiritual Disciplines including this week’s DG video, check out the Vineyard website.