Bountiful Spirit - February 19, 2021
2 Timothy 4:1-5
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
Reflection by Millie Zimmerman
In a year of civil tumult, we have a challenge. How do we work to make certain the center will hold? How do we encourage truth-telling? Let’s look at Timothy’s injunctions.
Tell the truth and keep your head. Most of us do this, but then in the heat of a political situation, we lose control and say silly things. This we can fix.
Rebuke. That seems harsh, but we need to expect honesty. I had an encounter with a woman who wanted to engage in a conversation about “birtherism.” I just said, “We need to tell the truth.” She stepped back. No harsh words. She just dropped the subject.
Evangelize. Isn’t evangelism shown in modeling ways to be safer and healthier? Encouraging others to sign up for vaccinations or helping someone find a warm place to be in winter. That aligns with the New Testament injunctions.
Do the duties of our ministry. That is a broader opening. Just before I read this scripture, I read an article about conspiracy theorists. “Conspiracy theorists are more likely to believe the world is a dangerous place and full of bad people” is how the psychologists from Union College described the underlying problem. Troubled people see the world as uncontrollable. Is this why “itching ears” hear myths as Timothy describes?
We can combat those fears by showing concern for the world, believing in the safety and security around us. We can forego unsubstantiated fear. We can trust.