MIGHTY TO SAVE (2 TIMONTHY 2:1-10)
A little girl walked daily to and from school. Though the weather that morning was questionable and clouds were forming, she made her daily trip to school. As the afternoon progressed, the winds whipped up, along with thunder and lightning. The mother of the little girl felt concerned that her daughter would be frightened as she walked home from school, and she herself feared that the electrical storm might harm her child.
Following the roar of thunder, lightning, like a flaming sword would cut through the sky. Full of concern, the mother quickly got in her car and drove along the route to her child's school. As she did so, she saw her little girl walking along, but at each flash of lightning, the child would stop, look up and smile.
Another and another were to follow quickly, each with the little girl stopping, looking up and smiling. Finally, the mother called over to her child and asked, "what are you doing?"
The child answered, "smiling, God just keeps taking pictures of me."
Chapter 2 begins with a “then/therefore” in verse 1, the second of its kind in the book for a reason. The first “therefore” occurs in chapter 1:8 on, where Paul uses three times the phrase “not + ashamed” to urge Timothy to be unashamed to testify about our Lord or of Paul’s imprisonment (2 Tim 1:8) , then declared using the word the second time that he – Paul himself - was not ashamed, just as Onesiphorus was not ashamed of his chains (2 Tim 1:16). To be unashamed is stated in the negative, but to be strong is the positive.
What is strong? Strong as a bull? Strong as steel? How are people strong? Is it by age, sex, or muscles? How do people get strength, gain it or govern it?
Be Empowered in Service
1 You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. ( 2 Tim 2:1-2)
A Strong Person vs A Person of Strength
A strong person works out every day to keep their body in shape.
A person of strength builds relationships to keep their soul in shape.
A strong person isn't afraid of anything.
A person of strength shows courage in the midst of their fear.
A strong person won't let anyone get the best of them.
A person of strength gives the best of themself to everyone.
A strong person makes mistakes and avoids the same in the future.
A person of strength realizes life's mistakes can also be unexpected blessings and capitalizes on them.
A strong person wears a look of confidence on their face.
A person of strength wears grace.
A strong person has faith that they are strong enough for the journey.
A person of strength has faith that it is in the journey that they will become strong.
Be strong (endunamoo) literally is the present equivalent of “to empower,” or cause to have power, be powered. “Be strong” is an imperative in Greek, which implies it is a must and not a maybe, a requirement and not a recommendation, a prerequisite and not a proposal.
The irony of Paul is to call Timothy “my son” but demanded him to be strong. Why did he ask Timothy as a son then to be strong? Simply because Timothy is a son, but never a child. It is required of all God’s children to be strong because we are not children per se but God’s children. “Children” is a regression but God’s children is a relationship. To be children is a burden, but to be God’s children is blessed.
The imperative “be strong” occurs in only one other text in the New Testament, in the context of warfare: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power” (Eph 6:10), so there is a sense of looming crisis, an urgent challenge and a rough crossroad ahead.
Finally. “be strong” is never physical, but spiritual; not from underneath, but from upward; not without assistance but with anchor. “In Christ Jesus” is a phrase that occurs seven times in the book (2 Tim 1:1, 9, 13, 2:1, 10, 3:12, 15). As in the other “be strong” imperative in Ephesians 6:10, our strength is found in the Lord and in his mighty power (Eph 6:10). We can have spiritual fortitude and mental toughness in the Lord and because of Christ.
From himself, now Paul moved to Timothy’s relationship with others. The second imperative is “entrust/commit,” which means “to place alongside” literally. What is just as important as to be strong internally is to entrust the work to faithful men who are able to teach others. There are four challenges awaiting any leader. The first is Paul passing the torch to Timothy, Timothy to faithful men, and faithful men to others. Faithfulness is a recurring theme in chapter 2, from faithful/reliable men in verse 2 to trustworthy/faithful saying in verse 11 and God’s faithfulness in verse 13. There are lighting the torch, carrying the torch, and passing the torch. We call this the principle of multiplication. Witnesses and men are plural. Paul urged Timothy to have a lasting, long-term and even lifelong impact by transferring what he learned to others, not to be shortsighted, short-range or short-term in thinking