Eliminate the Drain
You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. —2 Timothy 2:1-7
If you had a hole in your gas tank, it wouldn’t be long until you investigated why your tank is always empty. I just filled up, you say. Why am I drained again? The same thing happens in our Christian lives. We get filled up with great Bible studies and sermons and we think we’re good for the long haul. But not far into the trip, we’re out of gas. Completely drained. What happened?
I believe one reason our spiritual strength drains quickly out of our lives is because we hoard it. That’s right—sounds like the opposite would be true, but it’s not. If we keep everything we gain in the Christian life to ourselves, we end up running out of gas. The apostle Paul mentions a bunch of reasons why we get spiritually exhausted in 2 Timothy 2, but let’s focus on just one. I’ll call it: “The Teacher Transfer Principle.” Here it is: I must transfer the truth I’ve learned to others or it will drain away my spiritual strength.
Paul tells Timothy: “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also”(2 Timothy 2:2). Let’s take this a phrase at a time. Paul says, “What you have heard from me.” When people were learning Scripture in New Testament times, they didn’t have CDs or sermon notes. They didn’t even have a copy of God’s Word. When someone taught them God’s truth, they had to listen very carefully. Think of the responsibility God places on us who have incredible access to the truth of God’s Word!
Notice what Paul says: “What you have heard from me . . . entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2). This is the heart of the “Teacher Transfer Principle;” taking the things we are taught and teaching them to others. Do you do that? Or do you just keep what you’re learning to yourself and eventually just forget about what you’ve learned? If you do, spiritual strength is draining from your life.
Understand this, loved one. You can’t just keep gathering and gathering information. If you keep hoarding it, those truths don’t give you strength; they drain your strength. Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 10:39b, “Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” —James MacDonald
· How am I “hoarding” today?
· When was the last time I shared what I had learned from a message?
Prayer – Father in heaven, You have chosen so many ways to speak to me. I am so thankful for that, yet I still feel empty at times. It is certainly strange that the only way that I can feel full is to be constantly emptying myself into others, then coming back to You for refreshment. Help me live like that Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.