Word for Today Archive

Pastoral Commentary for 2 Timothy 2
Author: Pastor Bob Nordlie

Just the second time I went riding with my friend Michael he took me up the hardest hill I've ever climbed. It's over a mile long and quite steep, reaching a 20% grade in some sections. Several months later Michael told me that he used the hill to find out who would actually become a serious cyclist. If they made it up, they would. If not, they wouldn't. I made it up, but it wasn't easy. Endurance cycling is not easy. You have to ride through fatigue and pain. You have to keep going when you feel like quitting. It's not easy, but it's worth it.

Some people have the false idea that becoming a Christian will make life easier. They think that God will solve all their problems for them and that everything will fall neatly into place in their lives. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In 2 Timothy 2:3 Paul told Timothy: "Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus."

The analogy that Paul makes is even better than the analogy to cycling. Soldiers know when they sign up that it isn't going to be easy. But they do believe that it will be worth it. The work they do as soldiers for their country will help keep their homeland and families secure and free. So the hardship is worthwhile.

We need to be good soldiers of Jesus Christ. Yes, we are at war against the enemy, Satan. We can expect that he will regularly attack us and make our sevice to Christ difficult and discouraging. Hardship will come our way if we faithfully serve the Lord. Even though we don't belong to this world we are in the world and the world is not our friend. Even our own flesh will battle against the Spirit as we seek to serve Christ.

If we endure hardship for the sake of Christ, however, there will be a reward. That reward will be much better than the reward of fitness that comes from being an endurance cyclist. That reward is the crown of righteousness. It is the crown of life, eternal life with Jesus Christ.

So the next time life seems extra hard, and you're wondering where God is in the hardships you are having to endure, remember that Jesus never said it would be easy, he only said it would be worth it.

Pastoral Commentary for 2 Timothy 2
Author: Pastor Josh

"Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. Their teaching will spread like gangrene." (vs. 16-17a)

Thinking about conversational chatter, I'm reminded of bringing our kids to school. Each day there is a 30 minute window where Brooke, our 5 year old, and Luke, our 2 year old, get to visit with one another while buckled in the back seat.

Some days Brooke and Luke sing along with K-Love or a Veggie Tales CD, and there could be no greater start to the day. Other days they talk with raised voices and I try to referee while driving, not able to get to school quick enough... getting them unbuckled and on their way to the appropriate classroom.

How do your daily conversations go? Are they beneficial? Do they build up? Do they ever tear down what was an otherwise healthy situation?

Paul's imagery of "godless chatter" is a powerful one. He compares conversations not grounded in the truth to "gangrene", something that eats healthy tissue and bone and can have lethal results. What brings about gangrene? Obstructed circulation, or insufficient blood supply to a limb on the body.

To speak falsehood about someone or to rely on speculation about a situation... is "to obstruct the circulation of truth". The result of this will never be good. Paul says good will never come from un-godly conversations, the result will only be more ungodliness (vs. 16). Godless chatter destroys.

Today, think about how you can speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). Rather than a verbal assassin, how can you be kind?

Paul says... "Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful." (vs. 23-24)

Pastoral Commentary for 2 Timothy 2
Author: Pastor Zach

My first birthday after Melody and I got married, she presented me with a card which was supposed to express her undying affection, allegiance, and affinity for me. Because Melody and I were friends some ten years before a "romantic spark" developed between the two of us, she gave me a card that read appropriately, "You're not only my husband, you're also my friend." What a sweet affirmation of a marriage that is grounded not merely in quixotic attraction, but in steady friendship.

But have you ever had one of those instances where your eyes inadvertently switched around two words while you were reading them? This is what happened to me. The card read, "You're not only my husband." But I read, "You're not my only husband." Two little words - a world of difference. Thankfully, as soon as I read the card, I knew I had misread the card. So I did a double take. Melody and I laugh about my misreading to this day.

Words matter. That is why newspaper editors meticulously review columns. That is why presidents carefully craft speeches. That is why pastors carefully prepare blogs. Because words matter. A good word can paint a picture, enrapture a spirit, or grip a soul. Conversely, a misused word can cause confusion, cast doubt, and wound hearts. Because words matter.

In our reading for today from 2 Timothy 2, Paul warns against a reckless use of words: "Warn before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and ruins those who listen" (verse 14). Paul pens this verse against a backdrop of a heresy known as Gnosticism, a Greek word meaning "knowledge." This heresy taught if a person could gain secret knowledge concerning matters such as good, evil, the cosmos, and mystic spirituality, one could become enlightened and ascend to a higher spiritual plane. This religious system taught such secret knowledge through cryptic writings and rituals. Not surprisingly, such enigmatic writings and rituals led to quarreling over what it all meant. This is why Paul warns against quarreling about words. For such quarreling is of no value. It does not solve Gnosticism's riddles. And besides, Gnosticism isn't true. This is why Paul finally calls its teachings "gangrene" (verse 17).

In the midst of Gnosticism's many and baffling words, Paul invites us to concern ourselves with the Word: "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" (verse 15). There is a Word of truth and it is God's Word of truth. And unlike the Gnostics, we ought to be careful and conscious of how we use this Word. We ought to "correctly handle" God's Word of truth. What does this mean? It means standing on the historicity and accuracy of Scripture. It means sensitively and compassionately sharing God's grace with those who are crushed by the cares of this world. It means voraciously and unapologetically proclaiming that Jesus is Lord. For words matter. And how we handle God's Word - that really matters.

So today, be careful what you say. Be careful what you write. Be careful what you text. Ask yourself, before firing off an email or carelessly making a phone call, "How can I reflect God's Word in my words?" And then choose your words cautiously. Because your words, used carefully, may just be the words that someone else needs to hear - for their encouragement, for their conviction, and, by the power of God's Spirit, even for their salvation.

Read Today's Scripture and Commentary on the Concordia website.

2020-06-05 07:06:40