This And This Only

This And This Only

08 December 2019

This And This Only
Jim Stephens

Reading: 1 Timothy 1-4

This and this only has been my appointed work: getting this news to those who have never heard of God, and explaining how it works by simple faith and plain truth. (1 Timothy 2:7 MSG)

Paul was such a gifted man! He was white-collar educated and blue-collar skilled. He was articulate and persuasive. And he was put-your-life-on-the-line committed to God’s purpose for his life. Paul lived to fulfill his “This and this only!”

I’m a generalist. In fact, both my wife Jean and I are generalists. We see a fairly broad picture of things. We have a range of talents in which we’ve developed some degree of skill. But we’re generalists. Last week we were talking about a project we’re currently working on and we thought about a couple of specialists we know who only and ever think about one thing. I almost never only think about one thing! In most situations I can eventually be heard to say, “But on the other hand…!”

Maybe that’s why Paul is such a challenging example to me. He was multi-gifted and concerned about many things but managed to bring all his energy to bear on his “This and this only!”

As I thought this through, I realized that one project, position, or task is too small and narrow to be my “This and this only.” And I also realized that Jean and I will always see more needs than we can fill and more possibilities than we can actualize. It looks as if this is another of those “What Really Matters” issues that is going to be neither simple nor easy!

So this is going to take some time and wisdom and revelation to sort out! And more than a little willingness to deal with difficult choices. By your Grace, Father!


Father, I want to fulfill my “This and this only.” I love to serve and I serve to love, but please work in me the ability to know my “this and this only” and not let generalism keep me from getting it done. When I stand in your presence and give my final report on the life you gave me, may I be able to say, “This and this only.” Amen.

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