Our Lectio Divina for today:
So, my son, throw yourself into this work for Christ. Pass on what you heard from me—the whole congregation saying Amen!—to reliable leaders who are competent to teach others. When the going gets rough, take it on the chin with the rest of us, the way Jesus did. A soldier on duty doesn’t get caught up in making deals at the marketplace. He concentrates on carrying out orders. An athlete who refuses to play by the rules will never get anywhere. It’s the diligent farmer who gets the produce. Think it over. God will make it all plain. 2nd Timothy 2: 1-7 (MsgB)
If you’ve been with us thus far, you know our current pursuit in this blog series is to uncover the core work surrounding the pastoral ministry (the kalós: precious treasure) Paul is downloading to his long-time apprentice, Timothy.
To summarize our kalós journey thus far, let me briefly share this overview:
Our Core Work:
- Soul Care: The core work of stewarding one’s own walk with Jesus through the proper care of our soul.
- Prayer: The core work of bringing all things to God, through Christ, using the ancient gift of prayer.
- Gentle Listening: The core work of caring for others through the fine art of spiritual direction, asking great questions followed by the grace to be a gentle listener.
- Life-Giving Words & Works: The core work of offering both Christ-centered words and works that give life-giving hope to those we are called to serve.
So now, we come to our fifth component to “this work for Christ,” this kalós (precious treasure) Paul speaks of here in today’s scripture. You see, Paul, the older apostle knew with a certainty that he was not to be God’s ultimate keeper of truth. He knew full well that he was only one small player in God’s larger ministry plan to the world.
Yes, Paul did become one amazing component in the first-century church. His work in missions still stands as a model to us, all these centuries later, on how to effectively spread the Gospel of Christ to unreached people groups.
But know this.
Paul fully understood that in order to be faithful to this precious treasure of pastoral ministry entrusted into his hands, he had to become proactively involved in freely giving away this ministry to others along the way. In other words, Paul was never so consumed with his own work in Christ that he failed to become a strong conduit of faithful generosity toward others with every step he took. And it’s this faithful generosity, this ability to look far beyond one’s self, that becomes one of the key components of successfully living out our kalós, our good work.
Sadly, throughout church history, we can find individuals, churches, and sometimes, whole denominations, who act as if they believe to have earned the right to declare themselves as God-appointed keepers of all truth. Many times, when this exclusivity is fully ripened in the heart of a leader, it cultivates an ugly self-centeredness that reeks of fleshly pride and self-consumed arrogance. In truth, when you are around a pastor or leader who believes himself or herself to be God’s mouthpiece or Jesus’ exclusive messenger of truth, the scene can become so ugly, it can actually drive away any hope of new life!
As I see it, when a pastor is truly operating in faithful generosity, moving in the truest unction of the Spirit, he or she is acting much like we find Paul here, freely giving away all he has been entrusted with to his son in the faith, Timothy.
So, let’s be clear here.
As you and I go forward in our generation, guarding the kalós, this precious treasure of pastoral ministry given us by the Master, let’s be fully aware that one of the primary functions of this ministry is to be generous with the gift, passing on what we have received to other men and women, reliable leaders who are both willing and fully competent to teach others.
It’s this kind of attitude of faithful generosity that reminds me of the brave stance of leadership found in John the Baptist (John 3: 30), when he was faced with the option of holding things for himself, or freely giving away the ministry God had given him…
“He must increase, but I must decrease.”
My prayer: Sadly, Jesus, it’s easier for me to hold tightly to the kalós, this precious treasure You’ve given me, keeping for myself all the joys and benefits of serving You. But it’s apparent that Paul and the early church saw the great need for faithful generosity to become a key component in all they were doing for the cause of Christ. Holy Spirit, indwell and empower me with a work of generosity so that I freely give away all the good things you have given me, so that I might decrease while the greater work of God increases. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: How have I intentionally held back from freely giving away the kalós, this precious treasure, to other reliable men and women around me? What self-centeredness and pride is keeping me from this faithful generosity I see in others who have gone before me? Am I willing to change? Am I willing to become a conduit of this ministry rather than being a dead-end?
So, what is God speaking to you today as you guard the kalós, the precious treasure of pastoral ministry, in your life?
In this 26-session blog series, Kalós: Guarding the Precious Treasure, we explore the kalós*, this precious treasure of pastoral ministry that has been deposited into us by the work of the Holy Spirit. We invite you to come along with us, bookmarking this blog’s home page for easy, on-going referencing.
As you go through this blog series, we also suggest that you use the ancient tool of Lectio Divina as you approach each scriptural text we give you in this blog. Lectio Divina is a slow, intentional reading of the Holy Scriptures. Take your time as you ponder the text slowly, allowing the Holy Spirit to illuminate God’s Word for you as you read. Ask the Master as you read, “Jesus, what in this passage do I need to hear today?”
*So, what is kalós?
Kalós comes from a New Testament Greek word which simply means “good.” The apostle Paul, when writing to his young apprentice, Timothy, decided to combine this common adjective, kalós, with a second Greek word, parathéké, a noun which means a deposit or trust committed to one’s charge. As a result, the apostle ends up with one, very powerful phrase! A command that both Timothy, and you and I, truly need to take note of as we continue this ancient work of serving Christ and His Church! “Guard this kalós (this good work, this beautiful deposit, this precious treasure) placed in your custody by the Holy Spirit who works in us.” 2nd Timothy 1: 14