Today’s Passage: 2 Timothy 3:2-5
Have you ever been cut off in traffic by someone driving so recklessly that you wonder what emergency must be happening? Have you turned on the TV to watch people embarrass themselves for a chance to win a little money? Have you seen the name-calling by our country’s leaders in the news? Been tempted by advertising to do more, buy more, eat more, etc.?
I know the answers are yes because this is the world we live in today. These are the actions of everyday people.
Paul outlines the many characteristics of people in the last days for Timothy with an important reminder and a strong director.
First, he reminds Timothy that people who have what would seem to be the most awful characteristics will have the “appearance of godliness” (2 Tim. 3:5). I don’t think we always remember this. Truth be told we tolerate and flirt with people we should not too much because they are not “so bad.” That negative coworker. The help-rejecting complainer. The person who can’t stop talking about themselves. Paul directs clearly–AVOID SUCH PEOPLE (2 Tim. 3:5).
Now as a minister of the gospel, Paul was someone who spoke to many people. Surely he is not telling us to give everyone in the world the silent treatment unless they already know Christ and leave like Christ. So we have to remember, this letter is advice for leadership and ministry–enduring in the faith. I think what God is communicating here through Paul is that we have to be on guard against potential influences that will take us off mission. A minister who surrounds himself with other ministers who are proud, may find himself tooting his own horn instead of God. A mother who surrounds herself with women who are heartless and impossible to please may find herself showing less grace and less empathy to her children. A community leader who is working with others who are impulsive and fast spenders, may find themselves tapping more and more into organizational resources in negative ways because, well “that’s just the way it is done.”
Who’s in your circle of influence?
In a culture that promotes networks and mentors and connections, we need to be careful and mindful of who is influencing us. If they are not on track with God’s mission, then we need to avoid them.