2 Tim 2
3 Share in suffering …
9 … I am suffering…
10 …I endure everything … that they also may obtain the salvation …
11 The saying is trustworthy …
12 “if we endure, we will also reign with him”
24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness.
God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,
26 and they may come to their senses …
Paul is getting into the heart of his final instructions to his most trusted servant.
And what are his instructions? “Share in suffering”.
And, “Oh, by the way, I’m not asking you to do anything I am not doing myself! Because … I am suffering.”
But don’t suffer just for sufferings sake, there is a greater purpose:
“that the people you are enduring with may also obtain salvation”.
And there also happens to be a greatest purpose beyond the greater purpose:
we will “reign with Christ forever”.
So what may this life of shared suffering look like?
First, Being “kind to everyone”. And this “everyone” includes the people that it is hard to be kind to. It’s the people that want to “quarrel” and engage in conflict.
It’s easy for me to be kind to people who are kind to me.
Will I be kind to people who are not kind to me?
Second, I must live an instructive life. This is a life bigger than my wants and needs.
Is my life pointing to something beyond myself? Am I teaching people around me what life is about? And when I am opposed, can I correct those opponents gently?
This, by the way, is not about seeking out opponents to tell them how wrong they are!
This is gently correcting those people who oppose me.
Finally, I must “patiently endure evil”. These are words I would never write myself. It’s hard for me to imagine giving my child this advice. Yet, here’s Paul telling it to Timothy. This seems like more than the Spirit’s wisdom. This seems like life’s experience coming from a grandfather … “Yeah, you’re going to see a lot of evil, my advice is endure it patiently.”
And what’s most fascinating about a life like this is, will the goal actually be achieved?
Paul’s answer is, “Perhaps” … and “God may”.
Paul lives this incredible life “that they may obtain salvation”!
Will they? “Perhaps” … Who knows?! … They “may come to their senses”.
In others words, we are not in control of what God does and we certainly are not in control of others around us either.
I can only control myself.
And I must:
-Be kind to everyone.
But this is trustworthy:
“I will reign with Christ”!
Father I ask you to empower me in kindness, obedience, and gentleness. May I see the kingdom more than everything else.