My computer and my cell phone are useful, but I’m not in love with either of them.
When they work, I’m happy with them. When they malfunction, I feel like smashing them.
I don’t measure the usefulness of my grandchildren. I love their hugs, their goofy actions, and just being around them. Whether they are useful or not, I love them unconditionally.
Paul knew the fact of God’s love better than most, but he also wrote about the need for Christians to be useful.
In a large house there are utensils not only of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for special use, some for ordinary.
All who cleanse themselves of the things I have mentioned will become special utensils, dedicated and useful to the owner of the house, ready for every good work (2 Timothy 2.20-21).
Why do followers of Jesus need to be useful as well as loved?
I remember building a small booth with some of Maywood Baptist Church’s finest, Jack McDowell, Bob Hicks, and Bill Wight. The booth was only designed to serve water at a festival, but the men were exacting in the measurements and assembly of it.
These men were professionals in their trades and knew that small errors produce larger problems as construction progresses.
The same was true for Paul and Timothy. Yes, the people of God are loved, but they also need to be useful.
We need to build upon the foundation with exacting strictness, so each generation will have the opportunity to experience true faith.
Each person in the family of God has a role to play in his kingdom. We all have the awesome privilege of being a partner with God in his redemptive plan.
Like the Maywood men who constructed the booth, we need to be accurate with the faith in word and deed.
Concerns for Future Generations
Paul wrote to Timothy because he was worried for the next generations of Christians. He knew he was near death and deeply desired that the gospel spread to the whole world.
Every generation faces threats to the continuation of the good news.
When we live a Jesus-kind-of-life, we will help the next generation want to follow the Savior.
Shun youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart (2 Timothy 2.22).
Paul’s favorite terms are used to describe the kind of life we should eagerly seek to embody.
— Righteousness – We live a righteous life when we align our lives with the plans and purposes of God for our lives.
Righteous people live their lives according to the attitudes, teaching, and actions of Jesus.
— Faith – Moral conviction in the activity and character of God is at the heart of faith.
Faith firmly relies on God and becomes faithful to God and others in response.
— Love – Jesus defined love with these words: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15.13).
— Peace – This quality works for harmony among individuals and groups.
Jesus taught, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5.9).
When God’s people make peace, the next generations will benefit from this work.
— A Pure Heart – Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5.8).
Pure-heart people have God as the Plan A of their lives. They have no Plan B. They look to God and trust him in everything.
Every generation needs to give the next generation the best opportunity to follow Jesus.
A Christ-like character will help others want to be Jesus’ followers. Let’s use these verses to evaluate our lives and align them with God’s plan.
Rudy Ross and I have produced a YouTube video on this passage. It can be found on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
Please email your prayer request to email@example.com. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.