God’s fingerprints are all over this text. God’s kindness is the reason we have everything we have. The inheritance God is holding for us is beyond valuable. It’s all because he sent his son, Jesus, to rescue and redeem us.
How do we respond to God when he picks us up, brushes us off, and puts us back on track, on his firm foundation? Peter gives praise! “All power to him forever! Amen.” How can we help but overflow with gratitude for the grace God extends to us!
Have you ever had your mouth washed out with soap? That was a familiar “threat” growing up when I would get a little mouthy with my mom. Apparently, I was “too big for my britches” on one too many occasions. I can tell you that the memory of what Safeguard soap tastes like is still a tangible memory for me! So is the lesson I learned, which meant even more to me when I realized it was Scripturally based.
God tells us in His Word that the tongue has incredible power, both good and bad. Here are a few examples. Ephesians 4:29: “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” Proverbs 15:4: “Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.” Psalm 34:13: “Then keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies!”
The Preacher has given us a lot to think about over the past several readings. How do you respond knowing “Jesus opened a new and life-giving way” giving us the ability to “go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him”? Have you let the magnitude of that promise really sink in?
Maybe you’re even asking yourself, “now what?” When our hearts start to overflow with gratitude and admiration, we call that praise and worship. Our response can simply be to honor God with our worship. When we fully trust God, we start to see the blessings in our lives more clearly. We can’t help but want to give thanks and praise to God.
Paul wants to make sure he has covered the bases in terms of relationships within the church. It comes down to an attitude of respect that can also be applied to relationships outside the church family as well. Paul’s instruction to teach these things and encourage such behavior tells us of the importance of such practices. Paul was equipping Timothy to be a successful leader.
To maintain a thriving church, Paul starts by focusing on the elders and how they should be treated. “Elders who do their work well should be respected and paid well, especially those who work hard at both preaching and teaching.” Did you note the expectation that elders do their work well? I’m curious what being “paid well” meant in Paul’s day!