Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching (1 Tim. 4:16 ESV)
The Apostle Paul introduces the two broad categories of our Christian life while on the earth with the words “yourself” and “teaching.” Timothy was a Pastor, and his ministry was essentially that of preaching and teaching the Word, so “teaching” here refers to his ministry. Your personal walk with the Lord is related but distinct from your ministry.
Every single one of us has a ministry. I hope you are not thinking of a Church or some ministry organization. Ministry in God’s eyes is you serving other people with the gifts and abilities that He has invested in you through the power of the Holy Spirit. You have a ministry in the House of God and the world.
The wise Apostle instructs his spiritual son to keep a close watch on both his personal walk with the Lord and his ministry. Both are important to the Lord but our personal walk with Him is of higher priority. There are two extremes we should avoid with these two categories. One of them is becoming too engrossed with “working for God” that our personal walk with Him begins to suffer. The other is living a good and superb Christian life but having little to no impact on anyone around you. Be balanced spiritually. Keep a close watch both on yourself and on your ministry.
Timothy’s ministry was centered on teaching. What is yours? Declare that “Out of my belly is gushing out rivers of living waters!”. That is ministry!
APPLY THE WORD
It is incredibly tempting to think that God values our working for Him above our personal relationship with Him. That is why many of us will think preachers on stage or those with florid spiritual gifts will rank high in heaven because that is what we see. God sees differently, the reason why the first will be last and the last will be first. Keep a close eye on your personal life, and also on your ministry.
Ask the Lord for the grace to walk with Him and serve Him fully by serving those who are around you.