“Devote yourself.” “Do not neglect the gift you have.” “Practice these things, immerse yourself in them.” “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching.” “Persist in this.” (from 1 Timothy 4:13-16, ESV)
Here is a mashup of Paul’s exhortations to Timothy. He wanted Timothy to teach Scripture, to give himself wholly to it. No messing around. Go all out in this gift. Maybe this will stir up a pastor or two (myself included).
Devote yourself: A half-hearted allegiance to the task won’t do. We must give ourselves all the way. The opposite of this is to reserve yourself, to hold back. Don’t do it. Devote yourself to the work.
Do not neglect: This is a massive temptation. We often want to walk away from this gifting. It is difficult, at times, to proclaim the truth. Or, sometimes, we just become fascinated with other things. Focus. Don’t neglect the gift.
Practice and immerse: We aren’t called to go ankle deep in this work. Get all the way in. Immerse yourself. Throw your life into the study and proclamation of God’s word.
Watch yourself and the teaching: Always observe your own life. We are to grow. We are to have discipline. We should be stronger as the years go by. This includes our teaching gift. It ought to get sharper over time.
Persist: Climb that mountain. Keep moving. Your lungs might feel like they are about to explode, but God will give you that next breath. Run. Teach. Study. Preach. Persist in the work.
This is a high calling, men. Let’s get after it.