Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 2 Timothy 4:2
The Apostle Paul wrote this exhortation to young Timothy who was now serving as the shepherd for the church at Ephesus. These words and the rest of the letter are the encouragement and instruction from an older pastor to a younger one.
I couldn't help but notice an aspect of this particular verse that has taken on a new meaning to me recently- "in season and out of season". Paul commanded Timothy to be ready to do his ministerial job when it was expected, and as well, when it came upon him suddenly.
Christian life is often a scheduled event- Sunday services, mid-week bible study, serving regularly in Christian food pantry or thrift store. There is nothing wrong with the Lord's body meeting at regular and planned times. A pastor's life often revolves around these planned times.
What God has been emphasizing to me recently are the opportunities that are "out of season." He means the people that we come across apart from scheduled Christianity and sanctioned fellowship times. I'll just call this the unsanctioned ministry moment, and boy can they be a blessed and refreshing event.
I'm now actively looking for the out of season ministry moments at the gym, in the store, and in the parking lots of the places that are not my church. Right now, people are hungry for a kind word, a bit of encouragement in the Word of God, a demonstration of sincere care, and someone who will pray with them about their situations.
Sanctioned Christianity has value. Together we build strong spiritual muscles, but keep in mind that the great commission was to go into the world and to be ready for those unsanctioned ministry moments.
I'm looking for mine. Where will you seek yours? Which routine can you see with fresh eyes and begin to use for Jesus?