Timely Instruction For Every Pastor
2 Timothy 2:24-25
Paul gave these words of wisdom and inspiration to the young pastor, Timothy, and to all pastors of future generations. "The servant of the Lord must not strive." He must not be a hot-tempered, contentious man, striving over words in debate, or quarrelsome. The preacher must earnestly and boldly content for the faith. But he must not be mean-spirited and contentious. "But be gentle to all men" - Gentleness is a mark of genuine manliness. The pastor must be a man with a backbone of steel. But he must be a man of gentle behavior. Lambs respond to and follow a tender, gentle, sympathetic shepherd. That shepherd who slays the bear and the lion with fierce boldness, gently caresses the wounded sheep. "Apt to teach" - Remember, in the context Paul is talking about character here, not gifts and ability. A man may be a precise theologian and a mighty pulpiteer, but pastoring has to do with caring for sheep. And we are not apt to teach men and women, unless we gently lead them in the paths of faith and obedience. "Patient" - Shepherds must be the most patient men on earth! Sheep need constant care. They are constantly prone to wonder, easily wounded, and usually behave in a most unhealthy way. That is the very reason why they need shepherds. If we truly recognize and acknowledge our own shameful unbelief, sin, faults, and shortcomings, we will be patient with the lesser faults of our brethren, especially our weaker brethren. It is secret pride that makes us impatient with others. "In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth." Really, the pastor has two choices in dealing with men: (1). We can, by harassment and intimidation, run them off, or whip them into line; or (2). We can patiently preach Christ to them, in gentleness, meekness and patience, with the hope that God might graciously do for them what he has done for us, grant them faith by the preaching of the gospel.