By Russell Mauldin
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” —2 Timothy 2:15
In his last epistle, the Apostle Paul encourages Timothy to be strong in his service to Christ. The aged Apostle sits alone in a Roman prison. His days are numbered. Meanwhile, the young Timothy was stationed in Ephesus, confronted with an onslaught of church problems. The second epistle to Timothy is Paul’s encouragement to a discouraged man of God. I can imagine the young man reading these last words from his mentor with tears filling his eyes.
Fast-forward to today: I’m almost certain the marketing team at Nike hadn’t just read 2 Timothy when they adopted “Just Do It” as their massive ad campaign slogan, but the point is the same. Sometimes we need to be inspired to reach farther than we’re reaching, dig deeper than we’re digging, and think in bigger terms than we’re thinking.
God deserves our best. As the scripture says, we are to study and prepare our very best so we will not be ashamed of our efforts before God. Now, I know it’s easy for us to look at others who lack discipline in their lives and say, “Just do it!” However, when we’re honest with ourselves, we each have areas in our lives we’re ashamed to admit we’ve neglected to properly develop for His service.
I’m reminded of a young worship pastor who testified to his resentment towards his father. It seems the father had pushed this young man to excel in sports in his youth and discouraged him from taking piano lessons. Years later, this young man’s music ministry was severely limited by what he perceived to be an irrevocable wrong.
The truth is, there’s no cut-off date on taking piano lessons. If you can’t read music, you can still learn. Do you have an unfinished college degree? Online education courses are more accessible than ever. If you don’t know how to properly run new computer technology, I’m living proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks.
We all live incredibly busy lives. In church work we all strive diligently to present our best offering to God. However, as we well know, Sunday comes once each week whether we’re ready or not. That was the inspiration behind and one of the keys to the success of our Ready To Sing choir series.
If you’re like me, there are times you feel extremely prepared and confident and other times when you’re scrambling a bit to just get through. My point is not to address preparing for the week to week (I trust you’ll let Ready To Sing help with that).
What Paul was saying to Timothy then and what I’m saying to us all today is that we can’t let preparing for the short term keep us from preparing to improve ourselves for the long term. What is that one “bigger picture” thing that just popped into your head as you read that last sentence?
Is there a God-given talent you’ve completely neglected? Are there weaknesses you have that could be better developed to truly give God your best? Starting from scratch is intimidating when you’re used to your comfort zone. I’m not promising it will all be fun. In fact, it may be a bit humbling and humiliating at first.
What are you waiting for? Study to give your very best and show yourself approved unto God—just do it!