March 27, 2009

Transformation Through Experience

2 Timothy 3:10-11; 4:7

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:7


John Maxwell relates the story of a factory that came to an abrupt halt when an essential piece of machinery broke down. An outside expert was called in, who gently tapped the machine with a hammer. Immediately the machine began running perfectly. When the expert submitted his bill for $100, the plant supervisor protested and demanded an itemized bill. The expert’s response: “$1 for hitting machine; $99 for knowing where to hit.” Experience is everything!

Paul had experience that young Timothy needed. Because Paul had fought the good fight, he could share invaluable wisdom. Because Paul had finished the race and had kept the faith, he could relate many experiences about perseverance and faithfulness.

Experience lifts us out of the blinding fog of our own problems into the sunshine where we can distinguish the terrain ahead.

Experience is a powerful teacher, but it often takes us out of our comfort zone and calls us to a new level of challenging living that will change us forever.

Paul’s experiences propelled Timothy into the thrill of the race and the uncertainties of the fight.

But Paul could not run the race for Timothy; he had to do that himself.

So, too, each of us has a race to run.

Sovereign Lord of history, provide for us the experiences that make us wise, the challenges that keep us running the race, and the failures that will prompt us to depend on you. Amen.

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

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