Prepare yourself to discern what is and what is not of God today. Still yourself so you can hear how God is calling you.
2 Timothy 4:1-5 (NRSV)
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly urge you: proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths. As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully.
A friend of mine led a Bible study on a difficult topic. It stretched the attendees and forced them to think past what they already knew, causing them to ponder new questions. Finally, one of the people in the study rebutted, “I like learning what I already know.” Pushing any farther was just too uncomfortable.
Isn’t that the way it is for us all? It’s easy to hear what we’ve already been taught and think to be true. We like what we’re familiar with because it makes sense to us.
Yet the hidden gem in the Second Timothy selection is that it encourages us to push ourselves outside our comfort zones. The letter captures our preoccupation with people who tell us what we already know, and reminds us not to accumulate those kinds of teachers. Great teachers are not worried about teaching us what we already know. They reveal truths lying outside our own wills.
Jesus is the shining example of this type of teaching. The world killed him because he taught something so different than what they knew. There’s nothing easy about loving God and loving neighbor as much as we love ourselves, but it’s our calling. We are to hear, live, and teach it, no matter how uncomfortable it makes us feel.
God of revelation, we thank you that there is always a new part of you to see. We ask you to put teachers in our lives who can show us your brilliance, and we pray that we can be the same for others. Amen.
Go with God.