For the Sake of the Elect
Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. (2 Tim. 2:10)
Being in ministry can at times be exhausting. Whether you are a pastor of a church, a Sunday school teacher, a ministry leader, a deacon, a church secretary, or the one who directs traffic in the parking lot at church week after week, there are those moments when we can become weary and begin to wonder if any of it even matters, when we begin to think this feels like a thankless job. We can begin to lose the motivation to keep going. The apostle Paul, of course, was no stranger to being exhausted and was no stranger to the trials and difficulties of ministry. Thus, we see him in 2 Timothy, very likely at the end of his life and at the end of his ministry, and he writes to young Timothy who is shepherding the church in Ephesus, “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal” (2 Tim 2:8). Paul wants Timothy to stay focused on Jesus Christ and the gospel of Christ no matter what happens and no matter what happens to Paul, though he is bound in chains. But then he quickly adds, “But the word of God is not bound! Therefore, [because God’s word is not bound, cannot be constrained, cannot be prevented from fulfilling the purpose for which it is intended] I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” Everything Paul does and has done and continues to do is “for the sake of the elect.” For God’s people, the bride of Christ. Because of Paul’s love for Christ, he loves Christ’s bride just as much and so is willing to “endure everything” for her, to suffer everything for her. There is the motivation to keep going in ministry. If you are in ministry, whether it be a large ministry or a small one, I encourage you as Paul did Timothy to stay focused on “Jesus Christ, risen from the dead” and be willing to “endure everything for the sake of [his] elect.”
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