For much of this week, I’ll be participating in a training event that will put some significant limits on the amount of time that I’m able to devote to my daily “In the Office” reflection. However, insofar as I’m able, I do hope to post a few words; and today’s thoughts are rooted in a verse that became important to me many years ago.
In today’s Daily Office from the Book of Common Prayer, the Apostle Paul speaks to his protege Timothy and offers these words of encouragement:
So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. (1 Timothy 1:8-9)
I first encountered these words in a meaningful way when I was a high school student taking a discipleship class with several men in my church. At the time, I was moved by the challenge of these verses to “live boldly for Christ”: to shun the timidity that might keep me from sharing the gospel and to embrace even suffering if that what it took to be faithful. And that’s a reminder that I still need to hear. I can’t think of many occasions when I feel “ashamed of the testimony about our Lord,” but there are times when it’s easier to remain silent than to speak out; and these words remind me that I was made for more than that.
As I have aged, however, it is the second half of this passage that has grabbed by heart. “He has saved us and called us to a holy life” – God’s purposes are not just to rescue us for heaven, but to make us the kind of people who are fit for heaven – and this life-saving and life-changing gift is given “not because of anything that we have done, but because of His own purpose and grace.”
I hope that we all can rest today in what God has done for us. And – acknowledging that – I pray that we can live boldly, embracing everything that comes our way with the confidence that God’s power will sustain us.