Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith. (1 Timothy 6:20-21 NIV)
“Stewards of the mysteries of God” is how Paul described himself and his companions, among which Timothy was one, and “it is required among stewards that one be found faithful” (1 Cor. 4:1-2 NKJV). The steward must give an account of himself before his master, and we must each stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10), to give an account of our lives.
The steward must first guard what God has invested in his life. He must guard the knowledge that he has been taught, the experiences that he has shared in, and the knowledge of what it means t walk in intimacy with Christ. These are precious investments that should be guarded and kept.
Paul was concerned, and who would not be, that in a busy and conflicting world, with so many messages floating through the space, that the basic Christian message may be lost by Timothy. Or it may be polluted, or relegated to a position of non-importance.
The “godless chatter” and the “opposing ideas” had to do with the Gnostic heresy of the first century, but each age has its own challenges along these lines. The message can be lost simply because other less important things push it from off of the front page of the church’s life.
The best way anyone may keep the Christian message is to let it become personal to him, to believe it, to treasure it, and to obey it. We must hide it in our hearts through faith, devotion, and meditation.
The second concern of a steward is to speak the message, to share it, to proclaim it, and teach it in practical ways. We guard it not by locking it up in some out of the reach place, but by placing it in the hearts of others. There is where the treasure of the gospel is held best – among the minds and consciences of God’s believing people.
The world competes with this in our hearts, and we often pray like Augustine – “Make me holy, Lord, but not yet.” We must treasure the gospel not as a single entity, but as the message of life that leads to knowledge of the Savior, to intimacy with Him.
C.S. Lewis in his book The Great Divorce told the story of a man standing before the gates of heaven with a lizard on his lapel, symbolically representing our toys and earthly things that fascinate us. The lizard was denied entrance but it pleaded with the man not to leave him. The man was in conflict, unsure what to do, because he loved this lizard very much. Finally he stripped it from his lapel and through it on the ground, and stamped out its life. But then, once it was dad and denied, the lizard turned into a strong and and beautiful horse, and the man mounted him and entered the city gloriously.
To hold to the Savior, to hold to the gospel, is more rewarding than everything and anything the world offers.