“I press on toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus! Philippians !”
saying shouting this verse every night in the Word of Life Olympians club at my dad’s church growing up. Pressing on toward my calling was something I latched onto from a very young age. I have known I was meant to be a teacher since I sat in Mrs. Rutledge’s kindergarten class at Brainerd Baptist in 1990-1991. I did not always know what I was to teach or whom I was to teach. But, I knew God had placed that calling on my life. I have always felt a great responsibility for the trust the school system and parents have put in me as they send their children into my classroom. That feeling of great responsibility was magnified when I had my own children, Caedmon and Selah, for now I was not only a teacher, but also a mother. To be entrusted with such precious lives has been both terrifying and awe-inspiring.
When the Lifeway Women’s blog posted earlier this summer they would be offering the study “Entrusted: A Study of 2 Timothy” for free online, I was excited to explore the teacher/mentor relationship of Paul and Timothy. I had picked up and put down this study several times because I’ve always been intrigued by Paul. I imagine him to be a cross between the look of Paul Giamatti, the intelligence and wit of CS Lewis, and a knowledge of scripture like Dr. Price. J Across the five week study, I got to look deeper into the remarkable faith and incredible humanity of this amazing teacher. He reminded Timothy to guard what had been entrusted to him, the gospel and the gifting of the Holy Spirit (“Guard the good treasure entrusted to you with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us” II Timothy ) right alongside voicing the pain of betrayal (“…Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me…Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm…”II Timothy 4).
I know I have definitely been guilty of assuming at times that the people in the Bible are in there because they are super-human when in fact they are in the Bible because they are just like you and me and faced the same relationship struggles that we do. I think that is why we are encouraged thus in Hebrews : “not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another.” It has always been a human tendency to withdraw when things get difficult, but it is a God-tendency to press on, roll up the sleeves and build each other up.
Throughout the study we were reminded we have been entrusted with both the gospel and the gifting to see our calling through. If you are a child of God, you have a calling.
“But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says, When He ascended on high he led captive a host of captives and He gave gifts to men…for the equipping of the saints for the work of service for the building up of the body of Christ" Ephesians 4:7-8, 12
We have all been entrusted with the gospel and the gift to proclaim it in our own unique ways. Some people are teachers, some are caregivers, some have the gift of hospitality, of cooking, of encouragement, and any number of gifts from our infinitely creative God. What are we doing with those gifts? How are we fulfilling our calling? Are we actively seeking ways to connect with others and build our community? Are we looking for mentors/mentees with whom to trust our burdens and to encourage in theirs?
I have learned much from my teachers, my students, and my children about who God is, His love, the gifts He has given us, and the calling He has on my life. That’s usually the way these teacher/mentorships go. I have a feeling Paul would say he learned just as much from Timothy as Timothy learned from him. And I believe Paul and Timothy helped press each other “on toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Are you pressing someone else on? Are you being pressed on? We’ve all been entrusted with the gospel…what are we doing with it?