It’s never been easy to be a pastor. If you’re pastorate has always been easy, then it’s arguably not a true pastorate. Maybe It’s more like a country club.
While the manifestations of what makes a pastorate hard now are different than what made a pastorate hard in Timothy’s time, things have not changed in principle. There are still evil people and impostors (2 Timothy 3:13), and there are still pastors who try to do things on their own without wise counsel or encouragement (2 Timothy 3:10-11). There are lots of nice-sounding alternatives to the truth faith (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
It’s in light of these realities that Paul affirms the authenticity of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:15-16) and then commands him to do one thing: PREACH IT. Not dance it. Not sing it. PREACH IT.
“Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” 2 Timothy 4:2
Paul gives this charge with a spirit of urgency. This is due not only because of the environment that Timothy ministers in (see list above), but also because of the urgency associated with Jesus’ imminent return. When we take a look at the realities around us and the certainty of what lies ahead of us, there is only one option for the preacher: PREACH THE WORD.
But how? “With complete patience and teaching.” Says D. A. Carson, “Paul’s view of the ministry demands a focus on the long haul, on personal patience, on great care with the substance of what is preached. This is not simply a job to be done, a job by which to support yourself and your family. This demands strong Christian character traits and a mind devoted to thinking through and implementing all that is embraced by “careful instruction.”
And to what end? “Reprove. Rebuke. Exhort.” “Entertain” is curiously missing from this list. Not to say that a sermon should be void of joy or enthusiasm, but its end must not be the pursuit of man’s accolades; rather, it must be the change of men’s lives.
So PREACH THE WORD. Be ready at a moment’s notice to speak the truth of the gospel in to others’ lives.
PREACH THE WORD.