Jump Start # 1573
2 Timothy 4:5 “But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
This week, we are focus our Jump Starts on the subject of preaching, and particularly preachers. There is an old country song that said, “All of my heroes have been cowboys.” Well, in my world, all of my heroes are preachers. There are two directions that I want to go with this series.
First, I want to talk to the “non-preachers” about preaching. We are a unique breed and what we do is unlike most other jobs. You see us on Sundays standing pretty and tall behind the pulpit. But what you do not see is what happens during the week. This is a tough subject to talk about. You probably won’t hear what I am going to write about from your preacher. He wishes that more understood what he did, but if he was to talk about it, it seems as if he is wanting sympathy, is complaining, or is bragging. So, most never say anything. I can and I will. Please do not try to read between the lines. I do not write between the lines. The church where I preach treats me better than I deserve. The pay me too much. They are encouraging, helpful and supportive of what I do. There are no complaints at home. I only wish every preacher could work with a church like I do. Top to bottom, the people are amazing, loving, kind and understanding. I love this church.
There are things about preaching that many folks have just never thought about. The preacher who travels to hold meetings. There are some things to talk about there. What a preacher does during the week. There are some things to talk about there. We may even touch the delicate subject of the preacher’s pay.
The preachers I know are honest, hard working and pouring their lives into what they are doing. They won’t complain. They won’t stop. They are passionate about what they do.
Second, in this series, I want to talk to my fellow preachers. There’s a bunch that read Jump Starts. That amazing me. They are smarter and better writers than I am, but they are so kind to what we are trying to do here. There are some things that we need to talk about as well.
There just isn’t a good platform to discuss these things. For your preacher to bring these things up is too uncomfortable and even counter productive to what he is trying to accomplish, so he doesn’t.
My intentions are to improve relationships with preachers and the congregation and especially elderships. I am a believer that things can always be better. I’m am never satisfied with normal. Status quo doesn’t cut it with me.
I have been preaching for more than 35 years. I have worked with four congregations. I, like most of the preachers my age, have seen a lot and have experienced a lot. There have been some very difficult times and there have been so many wonderful blessings that I cannot count them all.
Our passage today introduces us to four powerful expressions. These words are at the heart of what preachers do:
– be sober
– do the work
– fulfill your ministry
It is interesting that the word “endure” comes up twice in this context. The congregation will not endure sound doctrine, but the preacher is to endure hardships. It would be a tough place to preach if the congregation did not want sound doctrine. Without that foundation, the door swings open wide for anything and everything. The ship is a drift without sound doctrine. What usually happens is that progressive ideas are introduced and there are more who want that than want to stay with God’s way. Trouble looms. The church splits and years of work is lost because some did not have the heart to be committed with God’s ways. Stay the course is what Paul was telling Timothy. Preach in season and out of season. Endure hardships. The issues are not with you, Timothy, but with what the word of God says. They are arguing with God.
What Timothy faced is one of the hardest things a preacher can experience. It is at this time that some must make the decision to stay and fight for what little can be salvaged or cut the ties and leave. That is a sickening feeling. That cuts to the core of the preacher. Many feel like they have failed. They beat themselves up thinking that something more should have been done. They think something better should have been done. The truth is, the congregation was not interested in staying with God. Some walked away from the Lord. Some rejected Paul. And empty hearts that are not committed to God will do the same today. They may have enough in them to still attend Sunday services, but they are not interested, serious nor concerned about Biblical teachings. Those that will not endure sound doctrine will be the source of much grief to a preacher.
Paul’s words were not to cut and run. His words are endure. Fulfill. Do the work. Preach the word. Be sober. The battle lines would be drawn but the issue will be around God’s word and that’s where the preacher must stand.
Poor Timothy. He’s was heading into a serious storm with these “non-enduring” brethren. But Paul had confidence with him. He was the man for the hour. He had God’s word and that’s what he needed.
And that’s what we need today.
More to come.