For those who love to adventure in the Yorkshire Dales, you may have been to the White Scar Caves in Ingleborough. These are the longest show caves in England and have an extensive range of both stalagmite and stalactite rock formations. These form from the continual dripping of water containing calcium carbonate. Over time, the drip led to these impressive formations.
Sometime I feel that learning is often represented in this model. Drip after drip, we teach and practice. But it is not until a period of time has passed, that we see the results of our efforts.
Paul was a teacher. His student was Timothy. Timothy was a trainee teacher. In 2 Timothy 4, we hear how Paul encourages him to keep going and encourages him of the importance and purpose of his work.
"In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry."
Paul’s encouragement to Timothy was simple – preach the word. But just because the word was truth, this didn’t mean the task was going to be easy. It would require great patience. Not everyone wants to hear the word. Paul addresses the fact that people only really want to hear what pleases them - the path of least resistance. So, Timothy is encouraged to keep his head and endure hardship when it comes.
Just as the rocks form as there is a repeated drip, so often the most important lessons in life are learned over time. Today, if you are feeling the hardship that Timothy was going to face, ask God to help you to keep your head and endure, with great patience.