Written by Steven Liechty
Anthony B. Robinson
"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it." - 2 Timothy 3:14
Writing to his youthful successor, Timothy, Paul uses this particular grammatical construction -- "but as for you" -- several times.
Typically he will note that there will be bad actors about. They are "lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, arrogant, abusive" and a bunch of other choice words. They are "people who deceive others, who deceive themselves." Paul notes this. Then Paul says to Timothy, "but as for you" . . . stay at your post, do your work, pay attention to yourself and your teaching.
As if to say, yes, there are bad actors, there are people who tick you off, there are people who are full of you know what. I get it. Nevertheless, don't get fixated on them, stick to your knitting.
I hear two things in this interesting, repeated "But as for you . . ."
Sometimes we can get a lot of resentment going in the direction of people who we think are behaving badly, who are arrogant, boastful or abusive -- to quote Paul. The problem with this is suggested by the following definition of resentment: "Resentment is drinking poison and expecting the other person to die."
And there is an upside in Paul's, "But as for you . . ." It is the reminder that if we can't control others, and in particular others who are being a pain, we can take responsibility for ourselves. So, yes, crap may be going on. "But as for you continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you have learned it."
Sure, it's a crazy world and some days it seems as if people are unfair, irritating,and mean. But the one you can have some real impact on is you. Focus there. "But as for you . . ."
Lord, I just hate it when you remind me to take care of my own business and sweep my side of the street. But I need that reminder. Thank you.
Anthony B. Robinson, a United Church of Christ minister, is a speaker, teacher and writer. His newest book is Called to Lead: Paul's Letters to Timothy for a New Day, and he is also the author of Book of Exodus: A God is still speaking Bible Study. Read his weekly reflections on the current lectionary texts at www.anthonybrobinson.com by clicking on Weekly Reading.