Neglect – not caring for something properly; fail to do something (Websters) It’s amazing how much we don’t finish things we start. I can look back on many times when I started something very worthwhile, but failed to finish because of distraction, lack of funds, discouragement from others, or just laziness. I always wonder what happens to those unfinished things that God puts in our heart and mind to do. Where do they go? What happens to them in our memory? Are they a constant gnawing at our soul and just won’t let us go? If they gnaw at us, why? Is that God trying to keep us on task? Or is it us trying to recapture the past? You know, this whole thing of neglect can really eat at us if we don’t deal with it upfront and realistic. I loved watching the movie Music and Lyrics, where you’ve got a one time famous, half of a music duo, living off past songs and memories giving in to the fact that he is now a has been. Suddenly he meets a girl who comes up with something he struggles with, lyrics, and together they get him back on track doing what he was supposed to be doing. He started writing again and his life came back alive. He had started so well, but when he and his partner broke up, he gave up. Wow, what a term….Give Up!!! I will venture to say there are many more who “give up” on their dreams long before they “follow up.” They have one thing that doesn’t go right, and it sets them back. Then another thing is added on (usually financial) and the whole thing that was so pure and good starts to unravel. Great talent turns into, pretty good talent. Big dreams turn into failed hopes. All because of neglect. Paul tries to spur Timothy on early in his ministry because he knows there will be some opportunities for discouragement and then neglect. In 1 Timothy 4:9-12 Paul reminds Timothy that the follower of Christ labors with his eyes fixed on the hope that comes from God. He also encouraged him to keep going even when some might doubt his wisdom at a young age and try to distract him. He reminded him that the best way to show he was for real was by living the life of a believer by example. I’ve been there. I have something that God burns in my heart and I get after it, then the detractors start to pile on….Are you sure about this? That seems like a real stretch! Keep your feet on the ground David! Then it happens….You let them rule your thinking and stop listening to God. Why do people try to get you to neglect what God has put in your heart? Because they know they will never do it themselves and they don’t want you to get ahead of them. Oh it comes veiled in concern and realistic thinking, but in reality they are trying to rewrite the dreams God has put in your life. It’s the ole “misery loves company thing.” This is all part of the apathy that the world has talked us into and now instead of affecting our lives, it controls our lives. Phoooey! In verse 14 Paul tells it like it is when he says, “don’t neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you.” He also says in verse 15 to “take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all.” Paul doesn’t leave it there because in verse 16 he says, “Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching (Timothy’s gift) persevere in these things.” Now keep in mind Paul called Timothy a youth and Timothy was in his thirties. We call a youth someone who is age 13-19, and when they get beyond that age their dreams should be pretty well realized and gotten over. Why? We base everything we do on an American School System, not God’s system. It is so ingrained in our lives, that we can’t begin to think out of that box. If you are wondering what the word is, it is INDOCTRINATED! The last thing Paul wanted was for Timothy to live his life tied to the norms of his time. He wanted him to be a radical representative of what God was doing in his life. No matter what the age. What did Timothy do? He became a great finisher and he did not neglect what God had called him to do. On a side note: I would love to see some of the people who have been a major distraction to me try to talk Timothy out of his calling. He would eat their lunch!!! The taste of their lunch by the way, would be “salt free.”
So, if you have been distracted by the negative crowd and your dream has been let go, pick it back up. If you see God’s blessing still on it, then run. RUN!! Run from those who would try to kill your dream. Run to the Lord and let Him guide you. Run and get yourself in shape for the battle ahead. Run because he says to run, not walk! RUN!!!! and Finish! What could it hurt you if you are running the course God has set out for you? NOTHING!! What will keep you from following God’s call on your life? NEGLECT!! Like MC Hammer used to say, “Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah. nah nah, nah can’t touch this…..Not Neglect….stay away from it and people who try to talk you into it.
I Corinthians 9:24 You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. 25 All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally. 26 I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! 27 I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.
Are you running to win, or are you just running. It’s up to you to decide!!
The Pilgrimage continues…. David Warren