Paul had already used four illustrations to describe the character of the man of God. In the first part of chapter 2 Paul compared the faithful follower of Christ to a soldier (2:3-4), an athlete (2:5), a farmer (2:6-7), and also the perfect example of Jesus Christ (2:8-13). Today, we will take a look at his comparisons with a worker (2:14-19), a vessel (2:20-23), and a servant (2:24-26). First of all, the worker in the kingdom of God is called to abstain from senseless arguing with false teachers (2:14). Timothy, no doubt, had many confrontations with false teachers who were attempting to deceive the church at Ephesus into accepting another gospel, but Paul challenged Timothy not to waste his words on them. Instead, Timothy should “be diligent to present yourself [himself] approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2:15). A man of God should spend more time studying, understanding, and communicating Scripture rather than debating doctrine with false teachers (2:16). Paul even mentioned specific false teachers (Hymenaeus and Philetus) who had spread an erroneous message and confused those in the church (2:17-19). Paul also uses an illustration of vessels of gold/silver and wood/clay. The gold and silver vessels served a greater purpose than the vessels of wood and clay. Gold and silver vessels are used to serve family and guests while wood and clay vessels were used to dispose of trash. A man of God should seek to be a vessel of gold and silver which symbolizes usefulness in the hands of God for His purposes (2:21). We remain useful to God when we continue in the truth and live a life of obedience to His word. Paul challenges Timothy to “flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2:22). The last illustration is a servant (2:24-26). “A servant of the Lord must not quarrel, but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition…so that they may know the truth…” (2:24-25). In these illustrations, Paul was urging Timothy to be focused like a worker, clean as a usable vessel, and humble as a servant. Leaders must lead with passion, with purpose, and with purity.
Dear God, help me to be a leader with character and integrity that I may share the gospel with boldness.