Summary: What will we leave behind, what will be our legacy. Even in the face of death, Paul’s concern was for his young protoge Timothy.
Making LIFE COUNT
I still remember the exact moment when I realized that I was truly an adult. It wasn’t my 18th birthday, or when I enlisted in the Navy a few years later. It wasn’t even when I got married a year after that
I first realized I was an adult when I was 22 years old, and I still remember the day. It happened when I held my newborn son in my arms. As I looked at that helpless little baby, I realized that there was no turning back, that I was responsible for this life. If I didn’t feed him, he’d starve. For the first time I realized that I was totally responsible for another person’s life. My life would never be the same again. Every risk I took, every impulsive decision I made, every unwise dollar I spent would effect this little person’s life. I guess I should’ve realized that on my wedding day, but it really didn’t sink in deep into my heart until my first son was born.
When you realize that you’re truly an adult, you start to think beyond your own lifetime. You start thinking about things like life insurance and college funds. You start to wonder what kind of legacy you’ll leave, what kind of mark you’ll make on the world during your brief time on this earth. This is where the word character has reference to an engravers tool, as Matt said this morning. If you’re a Christian you also wonder what kind of role your life will have played in fulfilling God’s purposes on the earth. You see, for a Christian a legacy is more than a nice inheritance for your children and a gold watch for twenty years of employment. It’s more than buying an RV and enjoying your grandkids. A legacy from God’s perspective is participating in the purposes of God in our world.
I think of the names of Christians made a difference in the past. People like Augustine, John Wycliffe, Justin Martyr and Galileo. I think about American Christians like Patrick Henry, Jonathan Edwards, and Barton Stone. Perhaps you’ve heard of some of these people, perhaps others you’ve never heard of before, but each one has left his or her mark.
What kind of legacy will we leave? Are we making our life count for something? We’ve been in a series through 1 and 2 Timothy in the Bible called Deepening Your Life With God.
Tonight we’re going to talk about how to make our life count. It is a life that is more than a successful life. It’s more than a happy life or a life that’s upwardly mobile. It’s more than staying married and having kids who turn out okay. A life made to count is a life that makes a mark.
As Paul reflects back on his own life and the legacy he’s leaving, he gives young Timothy some important advice about how to make his life count. We’re going to find five insights into living that kind of life today.
1. BE STRONG (2 Tim 2:1)
One way to study the Bible is to pay close attention to the commands. Four of the five insights we’re going to look at today come from the commands of these verses. The final insight will come from a promise.
Let’s begin by looking at the command in v. 1. The command here is to "be strong." This Greek verb here is actually in the passive voice, so it’s more accurately translated, "Let yourself be strengthened" or "be empowered" (Marshall 724). In other words, you don’t get strong by trying harder or drawing from your own strength. Being strong in this sense is not a matter of gritting your teeth and flexing your biceps.
This kind of strength comes from outside of ourselves, from the grace found in Jesus Christ. God’s grace is a kind of catch all phrase for everything God offers to infuse into our lives.
So here we find the first insight. IF WE WANT TO MAKE OUR LIFE COUNT, WE NEED TO FIND OUR STRENGTH IN GOD’S RESOURCES.
Every person’s life is like a power tool with an electrical plug. When we’re plugged into God and his resources, those resources flow into our lives to empower us to do that which we could not do on our own. The love we need to care about people, the patience we need when we’re frustrated, the courage we need in the face of fear…all these things come from being plugged into God’s grace. Lives that don’t plug into God’s grace won’t have the resources to leave a very significant mark.
Lives that refuse to plug into God’s grace are self sufficient lives, lives that rely on self and ego. It takes humility to admit that we’ve sinned against God and to trust in Christ for our salvation, but until we do that we can’t plug into God’s grace. We’ll find ourselves being like a power saw trying to cut wood without a power supply.