Stop and thank God for being present with you today. Ask for God’s guidance as you hear God’s voice through scripture and the writer.
1 Timothy 4:6-16 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
If you put these instructions before the brothers and sisters, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound teaching that you have followed. Have nothing to do with profane myths and old wives’ tales. Train yourself in godliness, for, while physical training is of some value, godliness is valuable in every way, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and struggle, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.
These are the things you must insist on and teach. Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I arrive, give attention to the public reading of scripture, to exhorting, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you through prophecy with the laying on of hands by the council of elders. Put these things into practice, devote yourself to them, so that all may see your progress. Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; continue in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.
Have you ever found yourself falling into the trap of judging folks’ inner worth by their outer appearance? Or perhaps you have been so judged? We may subconsciously make judgements based on race, gender, socio-economic status, or any number of external traits. I’ve been judged based simply upon my accent. Timothy was apparently judged to be “too young.” If we aren’t careful we may dismiss people by category. I know a female pastor who served a church faithfully. When she left the church, she was surprised to learn that the very elder who had become her biggest supporter had (prior to her pastorate) vehemently vowed that no woman should ever lead. But the female Pastor’s living, loving and leading example melted that judgment away. Sometimes the most transformative sermons and are preached without words. May God transform us from the inside out into the living, loving, merciful image of Jesus the Christ.
Loving God, Open our eyes to see as you see. Open our hearts to love as you love. Open our hands and move our feet to live as Jesus leads. In his gracious and living name we pray,
Go with God!