August 13, 2020
1 Timothy 4:12-16
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.  Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.  Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save(I) both yourself and your hearers.

New International Version (NIV)
Even and especially in a time of pandemic, God is good.  At this stage in my life he gives new and unanticipated joys.  Watching my wife care for our grandgirls is more fun than I could have imagined.  I love the way she loves them and calms them.  Who knew this could be so fun?  Another joy is watching younger pastors take up the mantle of ministry and leading congregations.  I want to encourage them as they do the difficult work of leading in these perilous times.

Paul doesn’t mention grandchildren.  But he loved young pastors, too.  Timothy and Titus come to mind.  Timothy was struggling with ascetics in this church who thought Christianity was about abstaining from certain foods and marriage.  They doubted the goodness of God manifested in his gifts to humankind.  Paul told Timothy to train himself in godliness.  The Christian life is not about trying hard but about training intentionally to progress in our faith. 

Have you ever been told you were too young?  Early in my ministry I heard that a lot.  Not so much, any more.  These verses always encouraged me.  Youth does not prevent our progress in the faith.  We can live exemplary lives at any age, including our later years.  We read the scriptures and use our gifts to preach and teach.  I remember at my ordination, the pastors of Montana placed hands on my head and prayed for me as they sent me back as their young missionary to Texas.  Lewis Belcher started his prayer in a resonant voice, “Father, you are a great God and a mighty Savior.”  At the age of eighteen, I knew enough to know he was right.  All I had was my calling and a deep love for God and his word.  These have never failed me.

The Christian life is what Eugene Peterson called, “A long obedience.”  Like a cross-country skier in a blizzard, we keep going, one step at a time.  Progress is hard to sense in the moment.  But when we look backward, we see that God has brought us a long way.  What we believe will certainly shape how we live.  If we doubt God’s goodness, we are likely to become demanding and petulant.  But if we believe to the core of our being that God is good, we persevere.  Our walk matches our talk.  This helps others along the way.  As one of the writers of old put it, “A solitary Christian is no Christian at all.”  We need to help each other. 

Pray with me:         
Father, in these turbulent times give us discernment to hear your voice above the noise.  Help us to encourage each other in these difficult days.  We put our hope in you the living God, a great God and mighty Savior.  
Join us in memorizing the Word.  Scripture for this week:    
Matthew 6:22-24
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.  But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

Our 2020 Every Day with Jesus readings will follow the Foundations New Testament reading plan.  Copies of the reading plan are available at Tallowood Baptist Church, or download your copy at REPLICATE.ORG 
We would love for you to join us as we read the New Testament through this year, five chapters a week.  In addition I will continue my long-standing practice of reading one Psalm a day through the year.  Use Robby Gallaty’s H. E. A. R. plan to study each chapter (also found at REPLICATE.ORG). Highlight verses which speak to you, explain what they mean in your own words in a journal, apply them to your own life, then respond by doing what God tells you to do.  

About Duane Archives
Subscribe to our email list.