“Instant in season, out of season”

“Instant in season, out of season” I Timothy 4:1-5 1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

Growing up as a kid both sets of grandparents had cottages. Summer was the best. I was at one or the other every weekend. I loved the lakes. One lake didn’t allow motorboats and the other did. So, both had their own special appeal. A lot of wonderful times were spent at both of these places.

Memorial Day weekend was so exciting. Both cottages were going to be “opened” up for the summer. It was great to get there and experience once again the beginning of the “in season” period. There was so much to do and to look forward to. But, for me anyway, there was always in the back of my mind that the end of summer would come and the cottages would be sealed up for the next three seasons. They would then be in the “out of season” periods.

We didn’t go to the cottages much after Labor Day weekend. But, when we did it was always kind of a lonely experience. Yes, the beauty and grandeur was still there … and in some ways it was even prettier and nicer. But it wasn’t the same. However, over the years I did come to realize that there was purpose and beauty in the other seasons.

I imagine this is somewhat of what Paul was trying to help Timothy to understand. There are seasons to the ministry. There are highs and lows. There are exciting times and then there are down right grin-and-bear it times. Perhaps Paul was wanting Timothy to realize that the ministry is made up of people and that people also have their own “seasons”.

I’ve read these verses many times over the years. While pastoring I experienced the seasons of the ministry. It’s the same in the Messianic ministry. People are still people.

It’s always puzzled me … these times of ministry seasons. I can’t for the life of me see why anyone would not think themselves blessed to sit under the ministry of Timothy or Paul or Yeshua. But yet Scripture makes it clear that folks had their differences with each one of them as well. Even Yeshua asked His closest disciples if they were going to walk away from Him like so many others had.

It’s no different in any generation, really.

I’ve never been one to shop around until I found a preacher/teacher that kind of let me run free like a parent that doesn’t discipline their children. For some reason, I always looked for someone that loved me enough to challenge me when they felt it was necessary. That is the role of the shepherd. The role of the sheep is to be blessed by that kind of care.

The shepherd is supposed to “preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.” I thank God for the pastors and men of God in my life that genuinely loved me enough to hug me when I needed it and kick me in the seat of the pants when I needed it. I’ve had both.

Sure, the hugs are better. But, both are needed. The kick in the rear-end should be just as appreciated (if not more so) than the hug. Anybody can give you a hug. But, it’s the person that really, really cares for you that disciplines you.

Why? Because the person who disciplines out of love runs the risk of being rejected. You should run from the shepherd/teacher/leader that always hugs you but never gets down-and-dirty with you when you need it.

So … seasons come and seasons go. Nobody knows this better than the preacher. Ask Timothy. He’ll tell you. But thankfully he had the apostle Paul to encourage him on. Sometimes that’s all it takes.

Thanks Paul for loving Timothy enough to give him the words he needed to keep going.

Thanks Timothy for listening.

And … thank you for reading this.

And … what is the purpose of mosquitoes anyway!