Swept up into the activities of leading the church in Ephesus, young Timothy must have had moments of anxiety and despair. After all, this was the church Paul had so lovingly founded. It was nestled in the cradle of the Roman Empire—a cosmopolitan city that was renowned throughout the known world. And it was a place in need of stable leadership, for the spiritual shepherds in its recent history had become more concerned about the applause of men rather than giving their affection to God. That is why Paul challenges him to lovingly “command certain men” (1 Timothy 1:3) regarding how shepherding leadership must look. God’s servants have a momentous stewardship. And this stewardship impacts God’s lambs—His people.
It is no small wonder, therefore, that Paul concludes his letter to Timothy by commanding him to “guard the deposit entrusted” (1 Timothy 6:20) to Timothy’s care. The implication is that Timothy has been given something very precious in the sight of God. God’s people are important to God. Caring for God’s people is a stewardship that is a very high calling. Guarding this deposit is a must for God’s servant. God owns them, and the servant cares for what the Master owns.
That said, consider for a moment those people entrusted to your care. Do you have a wife or a husband? Do you have children? Do you have coworkers? Do you have parents for whom you must care? Perhaps you have a new neighbor or a hurting grandson. Maybe you are aware of a need in the life of the woman or man seated next to you at church every Sunday morning, or at the office, or at the football game. All of us have a realm of influence in which we represent a holy God. Are you taking care of this responsibility? Are you guarding the deposit given to you? Absorb the following recommendations for making good use of the deposit you have been given.
First, ask God to help you have a deeper love for Him with each passing day. This is so obvious that we regularly overlook this. Somehow we think that asking God to help us love God is inappropriate. It’s not! The Scriptures tell us that “love is from God” (1 John 4:7). Let’s ask Him to swell our souls with a greater, more mature love for Him. A healthy relationship with Him shapes everything else in our lives.
Secondly, ask God to enlarge your heart so as to love other people well. Loving others with the love that comes from God allows you to be an excellent steward of the deposit in your care—the people for whom Christ died. The apostle James calls loving one’s neighbor the “royal law found in Scripture” (James 2:8). Indeed! Perhaps the following prayer will encourage you as you guard the deposit given you by God:
O Jehovah God, grant that I would bear well the precious responsibilities handed me. May it be that moment-by-moment until I’m home with you, you will find me faithful, fit and fruitful for you, your people and your purposes. Help me, dear Father, even today, toward this end. And make it so for your name’s sake. Amen.