2 Timothy 4:6-8
6 As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
A Commitment to Following God
by Gaynor Yancey, D.S.W.
Acts 8:1 (NLT) opens with these words "Saul was one of the witnesses [of the stoning of Stephen] and he agreed completely with the killing of Stephen." Saul hated those who were the followers of the Way; his personal mission was to see them all dead and if not that, in prison. Acts 9 tells us that Saul was on his way to the High Priest to request the cooperation of the synagogues in Damascus to arrest all men and women who were followers of the Way to bring them back to Jerusalem in chains when he went through a life changing, experience with God! Acts 9:3-19 details his Damascus Road experience and highlights the fact that Saul, who in Acts 13 becomes known as Paul, regains his [new] sight, is filled with the Holy Spirit and is baptized. From that point on, preaching and teaching about Jesus as the Savior is Saul's sole focus. Those around him could not believe what they saw and heard as a result of his transition!
This is the same Paul who wrote two letters to his beloved mentee, Timothy, the young pastor to the Ephesians. In his first letter, Paul instructs and teaches Timothy to be strong. Paul's second letter, however, has an urgency to it because he was aware of the impending ending of his life. As 2 Timothy 4, opens, Paul encourages Timothy to hold fast to preaching and teaching sound doctrine, especially to belief in Jesus, as Savior. He cautions Timothy that the Ephesian believers may begin to fall away and to be attracted to other teachings that catch their "itching ears." Paul focused his words, experiences, even losing his life, on the truthfulness and soundness of Jesus as his Lord and Savior. His transformation experience was real, vibrant and alive. In 2 Timothy 4:6, Paul tells Timothy that he, Paul, is about to die and it is time for Timothy to become the Christian leader he was called to be. He affirms the fact that the only life worth living is one that is focused on God and God’s son, Jesus.
Paul's focus on Jesus and the Christian life is also true for us today! As teachers at Baylor, the common thread for each of us is our commitment to following God in our lives. Teaching at Baylor, a university infused with Christian principles, gives us opportunities to live fully into our faith. We get to celebrate the sound doctrine of our Christian faith. Through the infusion of our faith in our words and our deeds, we get to be examples of authentic Christianity. We get to extend grace, mercy, and love to promote a Christian focus for righting the injustices of the world. We get to encourage and support each other in our educational environment. In this very sacred educational place, we get to educate, encourage and support our students as the world changers God has called them to be!
Learn More About Our Guest Writer
Gaynor Yancey, D.S.W.
Gaynor Yancey, D.S.W., is the Lake Family Endowed Chair in Congregational and Community Health, the Director of the Center for Church and Community Impact (C3I) in the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, professor of Social Work and, in 2017, was designated a Master Teacher by Baylor University.
Initially called The Center for Family and Community Ministries, C3I is entering its second decade of providing research and hands-on training to congregations, denominational agencies and religiously affiliated organizations that bridge the divide between church and community. C3I provides points of contact with and resources for congregations to learn from the latest research findings at the intersection of faith and transformational service. Dr. Yancey is renowned for her work in congregational community ministry and community-based practice towards social justice. At Baylor, she has received more than $3.5 million in research and program grants with a focus on church and community collaboration on issues of social justice.