8 While physical training has some value, training in holy living is useful for everything. It has promise for this life now and the life to come. 9 This saying is reliable and deserves complete acceptance. 10 We work and struggle for this: “Our hope is set on the living God, who is the savior of all people, especially those who believe.” 11 Command these things. Teach them. 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young. Instead, set an example for the believers through your speech, behavior, love, faith, and by being sexually pure. 13 Until I arrive, pay attention to public reading, preaching, and teaching. 14 Don’t neglect the spiritual gift in you that was given through prophecy when the elders laid hands on you. 15 Practice these things, and live by them so that your progress will be visible to all. 16 Focus on working on your own development and on what you teach. If you do this, you will save yourself and those who hear you.
Don Shula coached the only unbeaten Super Bowl champions, the 1972 Miami Dolphins. He once said, “You take on what's right in front of you. You want to do the best you can with the opportunities that you have.”* His comment captured well the essence of what Paul told his young friend and protégé Timothy about life. Be confident; do what’s right in front of you. You cannot be a “winning” Christian without continued learning, growth and experience.
Lord, whatever my physical circumstances and condition, help me spiritually to be more of a “gym rat” than a “couch potato.” Give me an inner hunger and thirst for your righteousness. Amen.
* Quote found at https://www.brainyquote.com/authors/don_shula.
** N. T. Wright, Paul for Everyone: The Pastoral Letters. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004, p. 47.
Our Small Group of parental volunteers with CORis (Church of the Resurrection Inspiration Singers) is starting a study of Christian Heroes to learn how their faithwalk can inspire our own journey. One of our 1st discussions will focus on famed hymnist Fanny Crosby, author of over 8,000 hymns, including favorites like “Blessed Assurance” & “To God be the Glory.”
Fanny was born in 1820. At 6 weeks old she became ill & an unlicensed doctor prescribed a treatment that resulted in blindness. Fanny’s Father passed away shortly thereafter and, as her Mother worked as a maid, Fanny’s Grandmother became her primary caregiver.
Fanny did not wallow in misery with her predicament & developed a great talent for writing verse. One of her 1st poems, written at the age of 8 included these stanzas:
Oh! What a happy soul I am!
Although I cannot see,
I am resolved that in this world
Contented I will be.
How many blessings I enjoy,
That other people don’t!
To weep & sigh because I’m blind,
I cannot nor I won’t.1
A well-meaning preacher once remarked later in her life that it was shame she could not see, since God had given her so many other wonderful gifts. Fanny replied that she wouldn’t want it any other way – now the first face she would see would be that of her Savior, Jesus Christ.
So, what might Fanny’s life story have to do with today’s Scriptural challenge? (From your lips to God’s ears – Editor.) One of Fanny’s habits, encouraged by her Grandmother, was to memorize Scripture. She would memorize five chapters of the Bible per week. (Yes, chapters - not verses.) Even as a child, she could recite all 4 Gospels, Proverbs, & the Pentateuch from memory.
Sadly, science has confirmed that adults no longer have the ability to memorize facts, figures, or phrases like high school students. (Really? What study? Editor) Um, I can’t remember where I read it – DL. (Sigh – Editor.)
Aside: I like the old comic of a gathering of The Forgetful People Support Group. A man introduces himself, “Hi. My name is Wally & I am forgetful.” The group shouts in unison, “Hi Carl!”
But, what if we bucked the alleged trend & tried to memorize Scripture this coming year? How might this spiritual practice help us in our day-to-day routine? Let’s take a few quick examples:
Wow. We’ve already memorized 3 Scripture verses & the day has just begun. This is going to be a great year!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m trying to remember which rock band recorded the song, “Pinball Wizard.” (The Who? Editor.) Sigh. That’s why I’m looking it up – DL. (Sigh – Editor.)
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