During the nineteen eighties, when what was known as the Eastern bloc countries were relaxing the restrictions they had lived under since the end of world war two, a display of Faberge eggs was held in Munich. One person who attended the display was Paul Kutchinsky.
Towards the end of the nineteenth century the Kutchinskys moved from their native Poland to the East End of London. They were a family who had a long history in the jewellery business. At one stage they had been court jewellers to Ludwig of Bavaria.
They soon established themselves in their new environment and they soon established a thriving jewellery business.
Paul Kutchinsky had always been fascinated by Faberge eggs, and the exhibition in Munich convinced him that he should attempt to construct the biggest diamond egg in the world. He set about his task with a focus that bordered on the pathological. Accounts of the period from family members indicate that just about everything was put on hold until after the egg was completed.
Both family and the family business were neglected in the quest to build the expensive egg. His family fell apart under the pressure of the project. And the century old jewellery business could not survive the financial burden the egg had imposed on the company.
Most of us never have the kind of wealth to pursue the kind of expensive dream that would send a well established jewellery business into bankruptcy. However, there is always the possibility that we take our eyes of what’s important to pursue something we think is impressive or even just plain urgent.
Timothy might well have found himself in that kind of situation. A quick read of first and second Timothy reveals that he had his fare share of difficult people, demanding situations and dodgy doctrines to contend with as he set about bringing order to the church at Ephesus.
2 Timothy 4 records some of Paul’s final words to Timothy, his son in the faith. They are a call to keep before him what is important.
How do you do that?
Firstly, recognise your most important audience.
In verses 2-5, he gives instructions to Timothy about his call and ministry. These words don’t apply specifically to all of us, because we don’t all have the same calling as Timothy. However, what Paul says in verse one does apply to all of us:
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 (2 Timothy 4.1).
The “audience of one” – God – is the most important audience. The true worth of anything is measured by how God sees it.
Secondly, stay connected to your roots.
Right at the beginning of second Timothy, Paul reminds Timothy of the faith of his mother and grandmother. Why? Perhaps because they had clearly demonstrated what “lived out” faith looked like (2 Timothy 1.5).
Fellowship is so important if you want to keep your eye on what is important. Whether the more mature Christians in your life are family members or not is not that crucial, so long as you have people around you who have proved God’s faithfulness. If you don’t have healthy, faithful role models, ask God to give you some.
Finally, keep the fire burning.
Most of us are familiar with 2 Timothy 1.6. If you want to keep your focus, you need to keep the fire. With the Spirit’s help we can keep our eyes fixed and focused on what really matters. With the Spirit’s help we can successfully fend off the devil’s distractions whether they come in the shape of a curve ball – or even a Faberge egg.