Reflections: St. Timothy, Pastor and Confessor

Today’s Reading: 1 Timothy 6:11-16

Daily Lectionary: Joel 3:1-21; Romans 12:14-13:14

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called. (1 Timothy 6:15a)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. “Flee. . . pursue. . . fight.” With such language, you might think Paul is talking about kickboxers in an octagon or wrestlers at WrestleMania. No. He’s talking about that fighter in the pulpit, your pastor. Yes, your pastor is a fighter, too. Why? Because he’s just like you. Let me explain. 

Like you, your pastor struggles every day with doubt and despair over and against the promises of God. “Am I forgiven?” “Am I His?” “Does God care?” “Can I trust, in spite of everything I know, that I am holy and righteous in His sight, His child, an heir to eternal life?” Believe it or not, your pastor is a lot like you. 

But as your pastor, your pastor also knows that a happy answer can never be found in us (Romans 7:18), in our prayers (Romans 8:26), our works (Isaiah 64:6), our choosing (John 15:16), our love (1 John 4:10), our desire, or anything else that is ours (Romans 9:16). The answer lies outside of us, in Jesus. 

That is what makes the faith worth fighting for. The faith is not about some Jesus in us, but about the Jesus who is outside of us. The Jesus for us on the Cross. The Jesus for us in the water. The Jesus for us in the Word. The Jesus for us in the Supper. For this is the Jesus who saves, who brings us to the Father holy and righteous. This is the Jesus who calls us to faith, and keeps us there (2 Corinthians 13:5). Not the Jesus in us, but the Jesus for us.

Does God care? Am I forgiven? Holy and righteous in His sight? An heir to eternal life? Don’t listen to your heart. Listen to the faith, for Baptism, the Absolution, and preaching of the Gospel, and the Supper all say, “Yes!” 

That is the faith every pastor should be fighting for. And today, we give thanks to God for Timothy and for all pastors fighting “the good fight of the faith.” In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Lord Jesus Christ, You have always given to Your church on earth faithful shepherds such as Timothy to guide and feed Your flock. Make all pastors diligent to preach Your holy Word and administer Your means of grace, and grant Your people wisdom to follow in the way that leads to life eternal; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.(Collect for St. Timothy, Pastor and Confessor)

-Rev. Bradley Drew is pastor of Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Metairie, LA.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch

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