Guard What Was Committed to Your Trust
Sometimes the most difficult part of a teacher's job is to let the students go; that is, to let them graduate and make their way in the world on their own. Parents, seeing their children leave home for the first time, can no doubt relate to this as well. As we read and study Paul's first letter to Timothy, we can sense an almost parental concern as Paul writes to Timothy--a young man whom Paul would often affectionately refer to as his "son" in the faith (I Tim. 1:2,18; II Tim. 1:2).

In this epistle, Paul charges Timothy again and again to remain faithful to that which he had been taught. The letter concludes with Paul's heartfelt plea: "O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge--by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. Grace be with you. Amen" (I Tim. 6:20,21).

In these final two verses of I Timothy, there are several things worthy of our attention. However, our primary focus for the moments that follow lies within verse 20. Here Paul is telling Timothy to hold on tight to the things he has been taught. Within this verse, I want us to focus upon two words: "guard" and "committed".

The idea behind this word is to keep what you have. Paul is telling Timothy to be watchful, to beware, and to preserve that which had been given to him. Realize that if Timothy had lost or had allowed that which he had been taught to be altered or corrupted in any way, he would have failed in his guard duty! Fortunately, Timothy was not left to his own devices as Paul had given him valuable instructions that would aid the young preacher in his watch. The apostle instructed: "Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine" (I Tim. 4:13). Paul commanded Timothy to "meditate on these things" and to give himself entirely to them (I Tim. 4:15). Today, we too must make sure we guard that which we have been taught and hold fast to God's word alone. Such will be difficult if we do not give serious attention and continued meditation to the Scriptures. Paul was instructing Timothy to be watchful for those things that could be hazardous to his faith. Like Timothy, we too must be watchful. Remember, something that must be guarded is something that has value, and it is something that can be lost.

The Greek word translated as "committed" here is also used in II Timothy 1:13,14 where Paul tells Timothy to "Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us." The gospel was not casually given to Timothy; rather, it was committed to him. That is, it was purposefully deposited with Timothy--it was given in sacred trust with implied responsibility. (Just like today when a person deposits money at a bank; that person is entrusting and committing his money to the financial institution.) In a similar fashion, Paul instructed Timothy to commit what he had learned to others who could also teach (II Tim . 2:2). Within the pages of the Sacred Text, there are other examples of commitments. For instance, the apostle Peter encouraged Christians who suffered to commit their souls to God (I Peter 4:19). Upon the cross, Christ committed His spirit to the Father (Luke 23:46). Realize that these were not casual commitments! They were transactions based on trust.

Friends, as faithful followers of Christ living in this world plagued by religious division and confusion, it is imperative that we guard the gospel of truth that we have received, believed and that has been committed to our trust. For it is by the whole and uncorrupted truth that we will be set free (John 8:32).