Passing the Torch . . . guard the truth entrusted to you
What you have heard from me, keep as the sound pattern of teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
2 Timothy 1:13-14
Have you ever ice-skated ladies? Could you now? I had a rude awakening a couple of years ago when my grandsons persuaded me to join the family free-skate time the winter they played hockey. Confident I could glide around the rink with grace, I laced up my boots and stepped onto the ice. After all, I was on skates at the age of three; but neither glide nor grace were to be. Luckily I did get around the rink, hugging the boards.
How intense is the training to become an Olympian, how much daily time is required, for how many years? Familiarity with all the nuances of the sport is strategic, guarding the athletic prowess you have been endowed with of the essence, the trainer key.
As Paul passed the torch of ministry to Timothy, he cautioned him to guard that good deposit which he had been entrusted with. What is that good deposit? It is the gospel, the story of Jesus who destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light (2 Timothy 1:10). Paul considered himself appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher of that good news (1:11). Now it would be up to Timothy to proclaim the essential truth of salvation in his place.
In Paul’s day the truth of the good news was being watered down and otherwise distorted in ways such as these: you needed to be circumcised, to keep the dietary laws, to observe the religious festivals. In this day and age we hear untruths like: Jesus was merely a good man; all paths lead to heaven.
So how does one guard the gospel? As training is of prime importance to the Olympians, so too training in truth is paramount to keeping the faith pure. Paul taught Timothy well. Who teaches you? Who keeps you on the track of living to bring glory to God? Are you pumping the iron of God’s Word every day? You can’t do it alone, but the Holy Spirit who lives in you can and will.