Are you wishing winter would hurry up and end so that we can get on with spring and summer? Perhaps you are already dreaming of sitting on the beach, watching the waves come in, and sipping your beverage of choice? For some people, winter is definitely “out of season” and certainly not their favorite time of the year. I am not one of those people as I tend to enjoy all the seasons, including winter. This time of year, our family makes good use of the big hill we have behind our house, and I just wish that the snow would not come and go so much here in Pennsylvania.
This little winter/weather digression makes me think of an important passage from Paul’s second letter to Timothy. It reads: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” (2 Timothy 3:16 – 4:2)
What does it mean to “be ready in season and out of season”? From the context, some might take this to mean that preachers should always have a sermon in their back pocket so they are ready to preach on short notice. That may not be a bad idea, but the text is saying so much more than just that. In essence, Paul is reminding young Timothy that God has given us the very Word of God. And these holy Scriptures are sufficient, useful, and authoritative in every way.
The application naturally follows……preach the Word! In any and every situation, be ready to bring God’s word to bear. Paul goes further in order to help us apply this: “reprove, rebuke, exhort……and teach.” But know that one must always be grounded in the Word of God in order to do this. “Rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) is foundational.
I would also add that “being ready in season and out of season” means proclaiming God’s word even with it is not popular or convenient to do so. I don’t have to tell you that the authority of God’s Word is not held to in our day. In fact, sometimes we wonder if the Bible is even being taught and believed in our churches. But regardless of what is going on in the culture or the church, we must be faithful! We must proclaim the truth! We must honor God’s word and always be prepared to give an answer to those who ask about the hope that we have (1 Peter 3:15).