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 (2 Timothy 2:1–2, ESV).
Have you ever seen the home of a hoarder? Some of us are clutterers or packrats, but hoarding is a whole different level of acquisition. True hoarders are either unwilling or even unable to discard excess. They acquire, stack, fill, and overflow their homes, and their hoarding causes them distress and eventually makes their homes unlivable. It’s a sad condition.
Some of us aren’t physical hoarders but spiritual hoarders. We take, take, take and never give. And this too is a sad state of affairs, because hoarding hinders grace.
God only pours so much into people who say, “It stops with me.” Let’s say you’ve been growing and learning spiritually, and you have a friend at work who has never gotten to hear what’s been entrusted to you, or a family member who desperately needs to hear what you’ve been learning. Hoarding those truths doesn’t make you stronger; no, hoarding hinders grace. Spiritual hoarders are like the Dead Sea.
In the Dead Sea, swimming is like floating. You couldn’t drown yourself in the Dead Sea if you wanted to. Because of the unusually high salt concentration, which far exceeds the ocean, people easily float, but because of the salt, nothing lives in the Dead Sea. Thus the name—it’s a lifeless place. The Jordan River flows into the Dead Sea, but nothing flows out. Zero outlets.
Is your faith like that? Do you take in but never give out? Don’t be the Dead Sea. It’s possible to listen, learn, hear, and agree but feel no responsibility to pass that along to others. Let’s say you’re new in your faith, and you’re growing and learning exponentially. If you want to keep growing, you have to entrust those lessons to others and “teach others also.”
This principle is foundational to discipleship. The vision of church is not for you to attend church; the vision is for you to become a mature, reproducing disciple.
Teachers get this. They don’t want to hoard; they love to transfer. Their goal isn’t to simply learn every fact about their discipline. They want to pour that information and love of learning into others. A master history teacher doesn’t memorize textbooks. He processes that information, packages it in interesting ways to inspire his students, and passes it on. In the same way, God wants all of His disciples to also be teachers, to entrust to others what they have learned.
Paul passed his lessons on to Timothy, his protégé and favorite disciple. Paul referred to Timothy as “my child,” tender language for a man who was probably forty years old. These two were close. Just as Paul picked Timothy, pick people who want it. Don’t try to cram truth down the throat of someone who’s not interested. Love those people; don’t force-feed them. There are hungry hearts who long for more truth. Don’t hoard grace. Transfer what you’ve learned to those who crave it.
This post originally appeared on Dr. James MacDonald’s daily devotional Our Journey and was republished with permission.
James MacDonald (D. Min. Phoenix Seminary) is the founding senior pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel, leads the church-planting ministry of Harvest Bible Fellowship, teaches the practical application of God’s Word on the Walk in the Word radio and television programs, and is a gifted author and speaker. You can find out more about James and his ministries at WalkintheWord.org.