Travel Tips for Life’s JourneyBlog / Produced by The High Calling
In his second letter to Timothy, St. Paul gave his young friend wise advice:
As for you, always be steady, endure suffering to do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Tim. 4:5)
Paul's counsel also encourages the follower of Jesus Christ who may be charting a course direction for his or her life. Even Paul's word order helps us make sense of career goals, college majors, job changes, and the many practical moves needed to determine our work and calling.
Paul first of all encourages Timothy not to panic or make hasty or erratic moves: "Always be steady ." The word here is used in first-century Greek primarily to describe the balance and self-restraint of an athlete, which means we avoid careless moves that use up our energy. In mountaineering, this principle is fundamental, as climbers must deliberately place each step so that a sliding boot does not drain energy through dangerous thrashing.
Paul then reminds Timothy that in the midst of every great adventure and challenge is suffering—something you put up with. You neither seek nor dwell on it.
Because his friend is a Christian, Paul then places the whole of Timothy's life and work in the context of the Good News. Everything Timothy does should point to and share with others God's grace and faithfulness fulfilled in Jesus Christ. This is why Paul reminds his young friend to "do the work of an evangelist."
The advice I like best is the final sentence: "Fulfill your ministry." Like each of us, Timothy is on a journey, his journey. No two people have identical experiences, talents, or discipleship ministry mandates; each of us must individually discover his or her own ministry gifts and live unto and through and with that ministry. I believe this happens enroute during our lifetime journey, and that it progresses through phases, through growth spurts, disappointments, rediscoveries, successes, and grateful surprises.
The people who come alongside—as St. Paul came alongside Timothy—help us find our giftedness. But nothing changes the fact that the ministry is ours to fulfill, not theirs to dominate, but rather to encourage. We are thankful for those at our side, most of all for Jesus Christ—our friend and companion for the entire journey.