Today we are reading from 1 Timothy 6: 11-21:
11 But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 In the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14 to keep the commandment without spot or blame until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which he will bring about at the right time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords. 16 It is he alone who has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see; to him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.
17 As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, 19 thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.
20 Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the profane chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge; 21 by professing it some have missed the mark as regards the faith.
Grace be with you.
One of my favorite choruses is “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.” You have probably heard it, but if not it goes like this:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in his wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of his glory and grace
I thought of that as I read our passage this morning. Paul is giving his final words to Timothy. Focus on Jesus. Shun the allure of finding your identity in the world, but pursue righteousness. Love, faith, gentleness. Fight that good fight, following Jesus, can be hard. Do not set your eyes upon riches or the stuff of this world, let your eyes upon God, who provides more than the world ever could.
Guard what has been given to you. Turn your eyes on what is good, noble, and true – Jesus.
I think that’s a great final word of Paul here. He has given Timothy so much pastoral advice, fatherly advice, encouragement, and love. But he lives Timothy with what is the most important thing for him to know and to understand. Focus on Jesus, above all else. He had many responsibilities, many things that he must attend to. But it starts with Jesus.
Today, I’m sure you’ve got a million things to worry about, to focus on. I’m sure there is so much that you must be thinking about, worrying about, and praying about. All good and important things, I’m sure. But that is not your priority today.
Focus first on Jesus. Turn to Him. That was what Paul wanted Timothy to focus on, above everything else. Above all the duties and everything else. Jesus. Jesus first.
Today, that is true for us, as well. Jesus first. Focus there. Every minute of your day. Jesus first. Everything else will fall into place.
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