Hello and welcome to a new week of Foundations Daily here at STC. My name is Liam; I’m part of the team here and it’s a real privilege to be sharing a thought from the Bible with you all this week. Wherever and however you find yourself listening today we do so hope that this is an encouragement to discover more of Jesus and what he’s got to say to us through his word today.
Today’s reading is 2 Timothy 1:8-14. We are going to focus on verse 14.
‘Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you-guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.’
Whilst I don’t want the focus of the podcasts this week to be all about the global COVID-19 health crisis, we can’t help but acknowledge that we live in quite exceptional times. Every day it would seem our way of life as we know it is changing and evolving as new guidelines are issued from the Government officials – ultimately so that we protect lives, the NHS and especially the more at risk and vulnerable members of our society. Interestingly in what is still a very divided nation, we seem to have all united in an approach to ensure that people are protected.
Protection is at the heart of today’s passage that you can hear read in full at the end of this reflection. Paul instructs Timothy to, ‘Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to’ him. That word guard in the original language means to watch out for, to keep safe or to protect. Just as we are, quite rightly being advised, to take extra care now in how we go about our daily lives so that we protect not only ourselves but others too, the Bible encourages us as believers that we should always look to guard, to protect what God has given each of us.
Paul says here that we are to ‘guard the good deposit’. The deposit he speaks of here is the power of the Gospel which we have received through the gift of the Holy Spirit. God literally coming to make his home in us. Paul using the language of money here says that God has invested himself in us. The Gospel is that he has literally laid down his life for us so that we can be with Him. And that he has ‘entrusted’ us with this gift – his Holy Spirit who has come to dwell in our hearts through faith. That ‘deposit’ which Paul speaks of is like the down payment of that which we are to receive in full when we are one day with God in glory. Paul’s message to Timothy back then was simple – guard that gift!
But what does this mean for us today living in these exceptional times? God, I believe wants to encourage us, that in a time where we might have a tendency to feel quite passive, even powerless as certain restrictions are placed upon us that there are no restrictions when it comes to the gift God longs to give us. The gift of his Holy Spirit, of knowing Jesus – ‘Christ in me, the hope of glory’.
Paul, speaking to Timothy, encourages him to ‘guard’ that gift but this idea of guarding is not a passive thing. I’m watching. I’m checking. Yep – you’re still there God. It’s an active thing. To use the language of money again it’s an investment which we’re making.
Perhaps the danger for us in these times is that we can find ourselves investing time and energy in keeping up-to-date with every single news announcement. Constant speculation about what the future will hold. Trying to figure it all out – What can I do to navigate this latest challenge? However – and this is what the encouragement from today’s passage – we can seek to invest our time and energy first and foremost in focusing upwards. As Paul writes in Colossians – Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. The call is to remember that in all circumstances we look to God. To know that he is our father and we are his children. And that he longs to give us the gift of his Spirit and that we walk in the freedom and the power that his love brings.
So, what will we do to guard the gift that God has given us?
Perhaps as maybe our daily routine changes for a while now it is a good time to look at where God is in all that? What does it look like in these times for us to ‘set our hearts on the things above?’ For me, it’s simply at the moment trying to start each day by opening the Bible and not flicking straight onto to BBC news APP looking for the latest updates. It sounds almost trivial but I’ve recently taken to using the extra time I’m spending washing my hands (and my kids hands) by giving thanks to God for something that day. It’s definitely more interesting than singing happy birthday twice anyway! These are small and seemingly simple things yes but do you what it’s all adds up! Every moment spent investing time with God he uses to pour out more and more the gift of his love into our lives. A gift which he gives us without limit and, as we’ll reflect on later this week, a gift which we are then able to extend to those around us.
So, what will we do this day to take hold of the gift that God has deposited in us?
Thank you for the gift of your Holy Spirit. Your Spirit which testifies with our Spirit that we are your children. May we be a people who this day take hold of that which you have given each of us. That we may be beacons of hope for you in these challenging and exceptional times in which we live. Amen,
BIBLE READING: 2 Timothy 1:8-14
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. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.
What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you – guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.