A Bible study through 2 Timothy
Shame has no place in the Christian life. Paul boldly exhorted Timothy to be unashamed of the gospel and unafraid to partake in suffering for Christ. But that is not all that this spiritual father imparted to his mentoree. Paul didn’t just tell Timothy to be bold and joyfully suffer persecution; he gave young Timothy a much bigger charge. He commanded Timothy to faithfully guard what God had given him
“Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.”
~2 Timothy 1:13-14
One short command that carries a lot of responsibility: guard the good deposit. A deposit is a promise of future payment. It is only a fraction of the full sum that the person intends to pay or bequeath, but is used as a guarantee that the person will pay the full amount in due time. In this passage, Paul tells Timothy that he has been entrusted a deposit by God. God has given him gifts, abilities, promises, and truth as a deposit, promise, and guarantee of what He has in store for him in the future.
Notice the verb used in this exhortation: entrusted. God doesn’t just give deposits to random people for no reason. On the contrary, “entrusted” denotes that God has given something of value that cannot be left with just anyone. He entrusts His children with His investments, and expects us to steward and use them well. It is a high calling and position of responsibility. This is why Paul commands Timothy to guard this good deposit entrusted to him by God.
The word guard means to watch over it vigilantly, to keep it from harm, ensure that it remains and doesn’t get lost, and hold it in safe keeping from thieves and robbers. Guarding is an active verb. It does not denote passivity or a casual attitude, but an extremely watchful attitude and protective stance.
Guards are posted to protect valuable property and high profile people. They are also used to ensure that prisoners do not escape or run away. While the day to day duties of a guard may seem mundane and boring, it is an important job. Without faithful guarding, the prized possession or a precious person may be in jeopardy and a tragedy may occur. Therefore, guarding is not a task to be taken lightly.
So what does all this mean for us? While we know and appreciate the fact that Timothy had been entrusted with an important deposit and responsibility since he was the leader of the church in Asia, how does this apply to us? What can we learn from this command?
First, God trusts you and has confidence in your ability. He knows you inside and out. He is familiar with your weaknesses and your past failures are known to Him. However, God still entrusts you with a good deposit. You may not be the leader of a mega church, but God has still given you talents, abilities, and opportunities to steward well. You may not feel like you’re involved in a big ministry, but you have still been entrusted with the truth of the gospel, the life giving water of the Word, and the hope of the world. So make sure you steward well what God has entrusted you with. Remember, it’s a high calling and serious responsibility.
Second, God has entrusted you with good. Paul doesn’t tell Timothy to guard his burdensome deposit or be faithful to his boring job. No! He uses the word good to describe what God has given, for God gives good things to His children. Therefore, believe that what God has given you is good. It may not seem as cool or prominent as someone else’s gift, but it is still important and good. Therefore, stop comparing your deposit with those God has entrusted to others. Rather, remember that He has entrusted you with something precious and valuable that He believed only you could steward.
Finally, faithfully guard what has been entrusted to you. Keep in mind that this is a continuous action verb, so it is going to be an ongoing thing. You are not called to guard what you have been given for two months. On the contrary, God has entrusted you with your gifts, calling, ministry, and mission for the rest of your life. So become a faithful and vigilant guard!
But how do we guard so precious a gift? It seems a daunting and slightly impossible task! However, God always gives us what we need to carry out His calling. And for this task, God has given us the Holy Spirit. Paul tells Timothy to guard his deposit with the help of the Holy Spirit who dwells within each one of us. The divine Helper Jesus promised is here to enable us to become faithful stewards and vigilant guards over our deposits.
Therefore, allow the Holy Spirit to truly dwell and make His home inside of you. Because only by God’s help and the indwelling of His Spirit will we be able to faithfully and successfully carry out this command to guard the good deposit entrusted to us.
So in closing, what is the good deposit God has given you? And how are you going to guard and faithfully steward it?