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Be Ready

This morning I woke up to a sparkling world blanketed in soft, billowy snow. There was enough to cover all the grass and form layers on tree branches and rooflines. Between 3-4 inches, it was the deepest covering I’ve seen for awhile, and one I had been hoping for all winter. Except now, it’s April 20. Spring officially arrived a month ago, and with it budding plants, leafing trees, greening grass. The wheat crop has come out of dormancy. And I’m right in the middle of track season.

A few months ago I would have been begging for more (10+ would be ideal), then we would have hit the sledding hill where I would have taken a few runs with my kids. Now I just want my beautiful cherry blossoms and my father-in-law’s wheat crop to survive. As often is the case, timing makes all the difference.

But, none of that makes the snowfall any less beautiful to my eyes. In fact, as I looked up, the dissonance of the snow on the green leaves of our backyard tree was quite stunning. And standing there, observing this clash of seasons, a scripture selection popped into my head

...be ready in season and out of season

These words are found in 2 Tim 4:2, and pulled out of context sound simple enough, right? No matter the season, be ready. But placing the words within the context of the whole of 2 Timothy gives us a taste of urgency. Previously the Apostle Paul used the letter to exhort Timothy to endure for the Gospel: guard the deposit entrusted to you, be a good soldier of Christ Jesus, be a worker approved by God, hold fast to truth in the godlessness of the last days, continue in what you’ve learned, remembering all scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness.

Then, “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge to the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Tim 4: 1-5

This isn’t a lighthearted letter. 

In just the exhortation to “be ready in season and out of season” we can and should feel the weightiness. There isn’t a season of rest for Timothy. He is to preach the word no matter whether the season is good for planting or not; whether he feels like it or not. I’ve gotten to “herald” the word, to “proclaim it publicly” at a few women’s events, and while it is truly a gift to be asked, it’s also draining. I always want to be careful in my handling of the Word of God, taking care to present it well and fully, and at the end, I’m spent. It’s beautiful and lovely to present the Gospel, but it’s by no means easy. 

So not only is Timothy to be ready in any season to preach the Word -- which can be emotionally and mentally taxing -- but the ground he’s planting is rough. People won’t endure sound teaching and will look for someone else who will tell them what they want to hear. Timothy will be discarded. Where Timothy continues his work, clinging to truth, preaching in and out of season, those around him will turn away from the truth and wander off into myths. While I’m sure some of these people were strangers to Timothy, I’m also sure that some of these people turning from the truth were people Timothy knew well, people he shepherded, friends, perhaps family. Being ready in and out of season was going to cost Timothy his own comfort and his own relationships. It was going to be personal. It was going to hurt.

But Paul doesn’t tell Timothy to quit, to find something else more suitable. He tells Timothy to be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill the ministry. Paul shares of himself, “I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” (2 Tim 4: 6-8)

Paul tells Timothy to hang on. To look forward, beyond the suffering, to the eternal. He reminds Timothy that together, and with the other saints, we’re part of a waiting people. Where once people waited on the Messiah to come, we now wait for the Messiah to return. No matter what season we’re in, no matter the cost, let’s herald the good news -- Christ has come and He is coming again -- with patience, teaching, and endurance. With Paul, Timothy and all the saints, let’s fight the good fight, finish the race, keep the faith.

The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you. (2 Tim 4:22)



  1. Thank you for this much needed encouragement and strengthening. Timely.

    1. I'm so glad it was an encouragement for you today!

    2. We do indeed need to fight the good fight, finish the race and keep the faith with our nation being in such conflict as it is! FAITH being the main object!


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