These verses from Paul to Timothy say a whole lot. However, I want to focus on this one phrase… “be ready in season and out of season.” Read the full verses below:
Now, let’s think about it simply.
- “Be ready” indicates preparedness.It also assumes that there is a need to be ready. If you are actively engaged in spreading the Gospel, you will encounter opportunities to reprove, rebuke and exhort believers and non-believers alike. It is interesting that Paul suggests that there may be twice the need to reprimand as to encourage. Typically, we do not hear much about the rebuking part these days. We have been numbed to the need to do so through political correctness, which teaches a doctrine on non-accountability. Thus, if nobody is really accountable for their actions, why rebuke them? They are just a victim of something or somebody… right? NOT… ultimately, we are all accountable for our own actions. So, there are times when we all need a bit of rebuking and reproving. The important qualifier for us is to rebuke and reprove with patience and teaching. Our motivation should not be to embarrass or demean the other party, rather correction should be delivered patiently and with the goal to educate the other person so they will not repeat their mistake. Sound logical? After you rebuke, do not forget to end things with a word of encouragement. That is the exhortation part. Encourage the other person so that they see the value of changing sin patterns or wrong thinking.
- “In season and out of season” indicates steadfastness and stability. We should strive to be consistent in how we deal with people. Whether it is cold or hot, stormy or calm, planting time or harvest, we need to be steady and stable. If people suspect that our answers are tempered by our current seasonal influence, well, they will probably not give as much credence to our attempts to influence them. Conversely, if they sense that we are level-headed and consistent, they will have more confidence in us.
If we are prepared through the study of scripture and the personal consumption of sound teaching, then we should speak up as the Spirit leads us. However, especially when dealing with unbelievers, we need to be patient and teach them the Truth with right motives and attitudes. The goal should be to convert the unbeliever and disciple the baby believer. Be strong, be fair… be a light in the darkness.