2 Timothy 2:14-16 (NIV) — “Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. Their teaching will spread like gangrene.”
Wow! What do you do with such instruction? There are two quips (witty remarks) that instantly popped into my mind: 1. Buckle up buttercup; and 2. Focus up!
Our world seems to be getting more and more complicated. In our opening Scripture, verse 15 stands out to me: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved.”
Which, for me, naturally triggered the phrase from my youth, “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.”
This is known as the Scout Oath, which is then followed by the 12 points of Scout Law. The first one is, “A scout is trustworthy, tells the truth and keeps promises. People can depend on you.” It ends with the 12th point, which says, “Reverent: Be reverent toward God. Be faithful in your religious duties. Respect the beliefs of others.”
Their motto is “Be Prepared.”
In those youthful days, it was common to see kids selling candy as a fundraiser or doing volunteer projects. I remember seeing the Brownies and the Girl Scouts in their uniforms in the school gym reciting their pledge, “On my honor, I will try to serve God and my country, to help people at all times and to live by the Girl Scout law.”
Their motto: “Be Prepared.”
The “Girl Scout Handbook” explains their motto this way: “A Girl Scout is ready to help out wherever she is needed. Willingness to serve is not enough; you must know how to do the job well, even in an emergency.”
I must admit as I watch the news and the turmoil that ravages throughout our land, I miss many things of my youth. Yes, I grew up in what was called “Middle America,” a term used to identify rural and suburban areas. Much of what I miss now, I took for granted back then. I never dreamed the day would come where elementary students didn’t start the day reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Or that the Ten Commandments would be removed, or even seeing our own people burning the Stars and Stripes.
All the chaos and unrest, the out-of-control politics reminds me of the 1983 song by Don Henley of the Eagles called “Dirty Laundry.”
The song starts off with, “I make my living off the evening news. Just give me something, something I can use. People love it when you lose. They love dirty laundry. Well, I coulda been an actor but I wound up here. I just have to look good. I don’t have to be clear, come and whisper in my ear, give us dirty laundry!”
Seeing and hearing the turmoil that rages throughout our land, I now have a better understanding of the Biblical instructions given in 2 Timothy 2:14-16.
I understand it begins with one. The individual. But I also understand the family, the neighborhood, the community are all responsible for what is being taught, for what the expectations are, for the ideals and standards that govern us. I understand change is continual.
There’s a saying I heard several years ago: “If you change God’s standards, then they are no longer God’s standards but your own.”
Two things that remain in my mind: 1. “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved”; and 2. “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and to my country.”
Boys and Girls: Be Prepared!