Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me—a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus. Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you. 2 Timothy 1:13-14 (NLT)
Husband loves to watch television shows where people sell their junk. He gets a kick out of seeing what things are worth and the thrill of the hunt as they climb around in people’s attics and basements digging through possessions in search of a valuable artifact. I think the shows give him justification for all the stuff we have in our garage and sheds. I tease him that when he mows he will find old cars hidden in the grass, but he doesn’t take offense. I think he really hopes he will uncover something. While I admit that the people on the shows do have some cool finds, I don’t get really excited about it all. Even though I am a historian, most of the time I think, “Ho hum, seen one advertising sign, seen them all” or something like that. Civil War swords, Tiffany lamps, car parts, old toys, paintings, furniture and the like don’t get much of a rise out of me. However, I am interested in documents with original signatures. Proclamations, old Bibles with family trees penned inside, handwritten speeches, letters, postcards and diaries are unique and full of stories that cannot be duplicated. Sadly, paper items deteriorate quickly if they are not kept in proper storage. Heat, light, moisture, the oil from our hands and bugs are all enemies of paper. Acid free folders and boxes, air conditioning, humidity control and darkness are necessary for keeping paper preserved. I was thinking about those valuable collections discovered in long lost places and historic papers stuffed into antique desks when I read the above verses recently. While Paul warns Timothy to guard the truth of who Christ is that Paul has taught him, I think that what Paul is saying here is not to put it away and keep it from others, but to make sure that it does not get diluted or twisted. He wants Timothy, and those of us who live 2,000 years later to hold fast to the truth and to share that truth with others. Not an easy thing to do in our world where anything goes and everyone is right. I am currently reading a book called, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream by David Platt. He uses the illustration of how Christians in the eighteenth century said that they were followers of Christ, but still owned slaves. They had allowed the culture of their world to taint their views of what was right and wrong. He carries that message to our modern day pointing out that Christians have bought into the materialism of our culture to the detriment of our faith and witness. It’s a hard book to read full of strong language and thought provoking statements that cause me to rethink how I spend my time and money. Life is not supposed to be about the stuff we own, but how we share the love of Christ. That precious gift will not deteriorate no matter what the conditions.