8 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel,
Paul is writing this second letter to Timothy, a disciple he considers his son, and is a relatively young pastor who has had to deal with a wide range of church issues described in 1 Timothy. Paul senses his end is not far (see 2 Timothy chapter 4) and takes the time to write what might be a parting letter to Timothy to encourage him to be faithful to the work God has called him. In the verses 2-7 before today’s verse, Paul instructs Timothy to “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” as he “suffers like a good soldier for Jesus.” It will be a long journey of service, self-discipline, focus and perseverance for Timothy.
Then in today’s verse 8, Paul says “Remember Jesus Christ…” The original Greek word for the “remember” means to be mindful of, to be aware, to pay attention, to focus on… with the result of affecting how you act. This it is not like remembering to run an errand or a date of some event. Instead, Paul is saying be intentional to keep reflecting on your soul Jesus’s death for you, and that will shape your life goals, and motivate you to press on to do well. To use the words of author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek, “Know your why”, that is, know why you’re doing what you’re doing, and that will affect your what (objectives) and how (strategy).
First, who is Jesus? He came from the line of King David, which made the things He did a fulfillment of numerous prophecies associated with identifying himself as God personally coming to save the world, free His people, and bring forth a new kingdom. Second, what did Jesus do? He died sacrificially on behalf of everyone and rose from the dead (proving his worthiness and righteousness), so that no one who believes in Him will be separated from God permanently. There was no personal reward for Jesus, only plenty of suffering and misunderstanding. But to Him, bringing about the reconciliation of God with every person would be worth everything He gave up.
Therefore, if Timothy was truly following Jesus who did not withhold Himself or bail on God’s plan and work laid out for Him, and if Timothy understood how much love was behind Jesus’ motivation, then Timothy would also get why Paul never held himself back from God’s path for him, and why Timothy can and should also soldier on in service regardless of the circumstances and challenges.
So it is for us. Although we can get acknowledged, compensated or rewarded for the good things we do (thank God for that!), Paul also exhorts us to let our deepest motivation to be a good person, do good deeds, excel at our occupations, serve the church community and so on, really be because we are impacted by the depth of God’s love for us and sincerely trying to follow Jesus’ example as our way to love Him back.
Thoughts for the day
- What drives you to do the good that you do? Why are you the type of good person that you are? What has Jesus got to do with it?
- What would your life look like if there was no, or less, acknowledgement or compensation associated with your good deeds or character?
- Take a moment to observe how your life, and your perspective on life, has changed on your journey of experiencing and understanding deeper levels of God’s love for you.
Dear God and Heavenly Father, I want to experience you more. I want the stamina, ability and strength to do life well because you are the one that powers me, with or without the world’s icing on the cake. Come Lord, I welcome you further into my heart, mind and soul. May more of you come into me so that more of you flows out of me. Amen.