Time For God: May 18

Written by Paul Beckingham

Focus: 2 Timothy 3:10-11
But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, long-suffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me …And out of them all the Lord delivered me. 
Release your inner farmer! Many reach a season in their lives when the urge to farm fills their dreaming moments. They watch online videos from newly minted farmers. They design a myriad plans. Their spouses often need to bring them back to earth.

One farmer—he keeps Khaki Campbell ducks renowned for laying many eggs—gives his viewers many helpful hints. He advises that they are social creatures able to be herded. He has trained them, at his call, both to emerge from their pen for breakfast and to return at night to sleep. He states that though they do not like to be handled, a farmer can—by handling them from a young age—train them to enjoy it.

Imprinting happens through early contact from the time they hatch. A farmer will discover that ducks bond with humans more than most other domestic pets. As much as it is possible for ducks to do so they will even model themselves on the farmer. Sources tell us that pet ducks—complete with diapers (!)—become clean and entertaining companions in the home. They will win any pecking order contest!

The nearness of a farmer and his ducklings becomes a rudimentary image of the nearness of God to His creation and to the people of His choice. We are created for relationship …with God and with others in the context of creation. David B. Williams writes, Yet God who is near is not only near in creation, in place and time, but also in the lives of his children. He is so near that “in him we live and move and exist. God revealed in creation is God present today in our lives. He is your Good Shepherd.

Our Focus verse today picks up the theme of bonding and positive imitation. In the final days of his life, the Apostle celebrates the relational bond of faith that exists with Timothy. Paul’s imprint of faith profoundly shapes the character and ministry of the younger Timothy. Doctrine—biblical faith—is involved. It bears fruit in Timothy’s manner of life. The younger pastor of the Church at Ephesus shares his mentor’s purpose, faith, [and] love. But Paul’s faith is costly, involving long-suffering …perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me …And out of them all the Lord delivered me. God remains faithful. The Good Shepherd tends His flock.
Who is your valued mentor in the faith? Who models the consecrated life, cheering you on in your discipleship journey? In this season of your life who can you mentor?

God of Peace, who brought the great shepherd of the sheep, our Lord Jesus, back to life, may the blood of the eternal promise ever keep me in Your service. Amen.
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