Be Profitable to Others

2 Timothy 4:9-13

Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me:

10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.

11 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.

12 And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus.

13 The cloke that I left at Troas with you, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.

As we read through our Bible’s, we can see all manner of examples where one person is profitable to another.  Right off the top of my head, I think of Aaron to Moses, Eli to Samuel, Jonathan to David, Isaiah to Hezekiah, Peter to James and Mark and Timothy to Paul.  I’m sure you can think of many more.  What exactly does it mean to be profitable to someone?  This Greek word is euchrestos which is only used three times in the New Testament and is typically translated useful or profitable.  One of the more intriguing translations of this word is in the KJV version of 2 Timothy 2:21, where Paul discusses purging ourselves from dead works so that we can be sanctified and meet (profitable) for the Master’s use.  So, this word profitable, used in association with Mark, tells us that Mark was very useful to Paul in ministry, so much so that he wanted Luke to bring Mark with him when he came to visit.  Paul wanted company in the confines of his Roman captivity, and who can blame him.  Demas left, Titus left and Crescans left.  The reason for their departure is clear – they could no longer endure the hardship of their time with Paul. We know this is true of Demas, as he very specifically mentions that Demas would rather love this world than suffer with the Gospel.  We are not sure if the others left for the same reason.  But Paul is now alone, and wants company.  He wants “those that would be profitable” to be there.

This makes me ponder if I am profitable to others when they are going through tough times. To be honest, I don’t think I am the most eloquent of people when tough times come around.  I don’t feel like I have the right words to say, nor do I know the right time to say them.  People who are grieving the loss of a loved one are particularly hard to minister to, especially if I have not been through the same thing.  When my Pastor lost his wife almost a year ago., I was lost for words.  I could give him scripture, I could pray, I could console to some extent.  But I never felt I had the right words because I had not been through that.  That same would be true of someone who is going through divorce, especially if it is after a long marriage.  Words can be hard to come by.  I try to find the right words, but always feel like I come up short.

On the other hand, if it is someone going through cancer, I can probably help them cope with that, or with another dread disease of illness.  I have been through that.  I have felt the lows and highs of a serious illness.  I have gone through the doubts of faith and the times when I felt useless.  I can minister to those things.  And I feel that the words I have to say in those situations are profitable and helpful, because they come from a voice with experience.  I get to thinking about the other hard times that I have gone through and realize that those are areas where I can be the best minister.  Those are the areas where I can be the most profitable to others.

James 1:2-4 tells us to take joy in the trials that we will face because those trials will test our faith, and when our faith is tested, we will become perfect and entire, wanting nothing.  So, can it be said that our trials are what make us profitable to others?  Do the worst of times bring out the best in us when we come through them.  He does promise that all things will work for good, and that He will turn the things meant for evil to good things.  The word does say that we will get to the other side, and that it came to pass, whatever it is.  When we arrive in the victory he has promised, we are then in position to be profitable to others in that going through the same trial.  Perhaps that is one of the reasons we should take joy in our trials!  They make us profitable to others.

It seems to me, in this world we live in today, that most people are more interested in who is profitable to them than who they are profitable to.  Paul did not have this mindset, although he does ask for profitable people to come see him.  Paul preached the gospel no matter what the trial or test was.  He never flinched from the truth.  Speaking these things got him stoned, shipwrecked, mocked, run out of cities, and persecuted beyond what any of us will face.  He was so profitable in his words that we still look to them for guidance and wisdom today.  What I am seeing is a world that has a “me first” mentality.  If it is not going to be profitable to me, why should I do it?  Why should I go out of my way?  I’ll just look for those things that benefit me, and who cares if I benefit others in the process.  This kind of world, and these kinds of people, lack the ability to be responsible for themselves and always look to blame others for their problems.  They want to work the hours they want to work; they don’t want to do a job that demands too much of them and heaven forbid they should get a position that pays little and asks for great service.  What’s in it for me is a question frequently asked.

This is not a Christian attitude.  The Christian should look for ways he can be profitable to others.  They should look for opportunities to serve, to assist, to comfort and to build up others.  We should speak words that bring life and grace to the hearer (Ephesians 4:29).  We should be a light and salt to lead others to Christ (Matthew 5:13-16).  Our lives should be poured out fully to help others in their faith (Phil 2:17).  We should look for opportunities to serve and love others so we can show them Jesus (John 13:35).  What could be more profitable than leading others to a closer walk with the Lord?

So, who should I be profitable to?  The list never ends.  I can be profitable to my Pastor by simply attending service regularly, by telling him how his message affected me, by being faithful with my tithes and offerings and by being there for him when a need arises within the church.  I can be profitable to my neighbor by helping when I see a need (not necessarily only when I am asked to help), by taking care of my leaves instead of letting them blow into his yard, by mowing that small patch of land that sits between his property and mine and is hard to get to   I can be profitable to my employer and co-workers by doing tasks that need done even if I am not assigned to do them, by being prompt, even early, for work, and staying late, if necessary, even if I’m not asked. I can be profitable to everyone I meet simply by smiling, saying hi and wishing them a blessed day.  One never knows how simple words like this might brighten up someone who is going through a hard time.

I desire to be profitable to others.  How about you?  I challenge you to look at your life and find the places you can be more profitable to those around you.  Then set out to accomplish just that.  Not because they ask, but because it’s just the right thing to do.  You will never regret it!

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.