In Season and Out of Season

Rebecca Van Noord

I like to operate when I feel like I’m in control. When I haven’t gathered enough information or I feel uncertain of my circumstances, it’s tempting to avoid making a decision or taking action.

Paul knew that this type of outlook was detrimental to Timothy’s ministry. He tells Timothy that regardless of his circumstances, he was required to act: “Preach the word, be ready in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all patience and instruction” (2 Tim 4:2).

Paul uses the certainty of Christ’s return to motivate Timothy to stick to his task (2 Tim 4:1). Although Timothy experienced times when it was not always convenient for him to act on his calling, he had been admonished by Paul about the importance of the work they were doing together: their calling. He also knew the urgency of that calling. Christ’s return and the appearance of His kingdom was their motivation (2 Tim 4:1).

We can’t follow God only when the timing is right for us. We also can’t rely on our own strength. When doing God’s work, we can never plan well enough or anticipate all the potential kinks; our plans will never be foolproof. It’s not the mark of a Christian to be certain of how everything will play out in every circumstance. The mark of a Christian is reliance on Christ as Savior, God, and guide. Through the clear and calm and through the fog, we’re required to trust, act, and follow on the basis of our certainty in Jesus. Like Timothy and Paul, we must be certain of our standing in Christ and the coming of His kingdom. And that changes everything.

Whatever the task and in every circumstance, we’re required to simply follow Jesus. We are charged to act for the gospel now, regardless of whether it’s convenient.

How are you trusting in your own strength instead of Jesus’? How can you be ready in the right way, in every season?

This article was originally published in Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan.