Summary: God expects His people to study His Word and divide truth from error so that we may be vessels of Gold and Silver, useful in His Kingdom.
Study to Learn and Know
By Pastor Jim May
2 Timothy 2:15-21, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work."
Most of us can remember our years spent in getting an education.
Some of you were in that generation where getting a high school diploma wasn’t as important as it is today. A high school education often had to take a back seat to the need of going to work to help support the family. Those who remember the Great Depression know what I’m talking about.
Some of us grew up in the next generation where a high school diploma was much more of a necessity if you wanted to have a good job. The job markets became more competitive and that meant spending more time in the classroom and with your head in the books trying to make the grade.
As time goes on, the job markets are getting more and more competitive. Today it is nearly impossible to land what most consider a “good job” without a college degree. Right now there are so many with college degrees that even a Bachelor’s Degree isn’t enough to get where you want to go. Now it takes a Master’s or even a Doctorate to really be in competition for the best positions.
In our present economy, very few can really achieve a high paying position without a degree unless you happen to be someone born with a “silver spoon in your mouth”, or you know someone who will make a place for you. Some entrepreneurs and a few hard working people really “make it”, but most are relegated to live a life of mediocrity, living paycheck-to-paycheck, and never able to forget that financial ruin lurks just around the corner.
One thing is sure – if you want to be successful in this world, you will have to spend a lot of time studying mathematics, English, literature, the sciences, and all sorts of subjects in order to have a well-rounded education.
Many of us would rather not have to spend time in studying. I know a lot of people who made a promise never to read another book after they graduated and I think that many of them have held true to their promise. Other than comic books, newspapers or advertisements, most people don’t read at all, and if they do, they only read for recreation and entertainment, not to study to improve their education level.
Paul, in writing this letter to Timothy, was doing his best to teach this young preacher, embarking upon a new life of ministry unto the Lord, just how important it was to really know the Word of the Lord. How could Timothy teach what he did not know? How could he live for God if he could not understand even the basics of who God is and what God expects of those who serve him?
Perhaps I have struck on a nerve here that explains in part, why there are so few people who want to serve the Lord in the areas of teaching and preaching the gospel. Why is it that every church struggles to find men and women who are willing to step up to the plate and become leaders in the church to teach classes and head up ministries?
Could it be simply because we don’t spend enough time reading and studying the Word of God, and are unable, because of that neglect, to really understand it enough to teach it to someone else.
I’ve often heard it said, and repeated it myself, that “Leaders must be Readers”. Reading means that we read to learn and understand, digging out the truths that are hidden just below the surface where most people tend to look because it requires more time and effort. We are just too easily satisfied with a surface knowledge.
Just about every one of those who traveled out west during the California Gold Rush that began in the 1847 and went on though the 1850’s, left their homes and families behind and went off with dreams of great wealth just there for the taking. In the beginning there were a few that found places where gold nuggets could be picked up easily in creek beds and mountain streams. But those “easy pickin’s” didn’t last long. It wasn’t long until they began to realize that it was going to take a lot of work, time and skill to find the gold. They had to start mining, digging, hauling out tons and tons of worthless rock, just to find one ounce of shining gold ore. While there were many who did gain wealth and notoriety as gold miners, most of those who left home with wild dreams of great wealth, eventually settled for working as farmers and ranchers. The gold was still there. There is probably a lot of it still in the ground today. But finding it now will require a lot of time spent in studying geology, and learning all of the modern techniques for mining, and most of all, a lot of time and money spent into the project of extracting it from the ground. For most people, it’s an impossible dream. There is no Gold Rush today because the cost to get rich is more than most can pay.