“O Timothy! keep that which is committed to thy trust,” (1Tim 6:20).
Paul’s letter to Timothy focuses on the work of the young evangelist and his need to remain faithful to God and His word.
At the end of the letter is the command, “KEEP that which is committed to thy trust.” Another word for keep is to ‘guard.’ W.E. Vines defines this word as, to watch, i.e. be on guard (literally or figuratively); by implication, to preserve, obey, avoid: — beware, keep (self), observe, save.
Paul is primarily speaking about the word of God. By implication it would also include whatever else is commanded for us to protect.
This got me searching the scriptures for other things we should protect, keep, guard.
First, we are authorized by command and example to PRESERVE our PERSONAL life. While Paul was ready to die in Jerusalem (Acts 21:13), if it could be avoided without denying the faith, he was authorized to PRESERVE his life. Upon learning of a plot to kill him, Paul was able to thwart that plan (Acts 23:11-30). This led to him to continue to preach as far as Rome (Phil 1:21-26).
Second, we are commanded to use and not to waste our RESOURCES. An example of waste through disuse is with the 1 talent servant. “Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury” (Matt 25:24-30). In our passage, Paul told Timothy to command the rich, “that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life” (1Tim 6:17-19).
Third, we are commanded to care for our OLDER relatives who can no longer care for themselves. “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1Tim 5:8-16). Another example is found in the care of Naomi by her daughter-in-law Ruth.
Fourth, we are to protect our TIME in this life. “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Eph 5:15-16). TIME is fleeting and precious. “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (Jas 4:14). We see this in the example of the urgency to be baptized of those that heard the gospel. “And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway” (Acts 16:33). “And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized” (Acts 8:36; cf. Rom 13:11; 2Cor 6:2)?
Fifth, we are to make a covenant with our EYES to protect our heart. “I made a covenant with mine eyes” (Job 31:1). “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Prov 4:23; cf. Mt 12:34; Mar 7:21).
Sixth, we certainly must protect CHILDREN. Jesus Himself warned, “And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matt 18:2-6; cf. Mark 4:42-44). Yes, he was inclusive of protecting the child of God, but that only strengthens the point of protecting the innocent life.
Seventh, most important of all, we must protect our TREASURE in Heaven. We have guards, locks, and safes to protect our earthly treasure where “moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal” (Matt 6:19). This treasure is temporal and temporary and cannot help us in the judgment, but rather witness against us, “Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days” (James 5:3).
Jesus said, “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt 6:19-20). We can take our treasure with us to heaven if we’ve laid one there. This is definitely included in the command to Timothy, “KEEP that which is committed to thy trust.”
Spencer is an evangelist for the Franklin and Juniper St church of Christ in Borger, Tx.