Approved Unto God

By Jimmy Tuten, Jr.

On a recent trip to Baalbek, described as the show place of Lebanon, I had our bus make an unscheduled atop at a quarry just outside the ruins. I wanted to see the world’s largest cut stone. The huge block of stone had been carefully cut, hewed, and squared centuries ago. It is sixty-eight feet long, fourteen feet, high and fourteen feet wide. Its size is, overwhelming. Even though, it was carefully cut, a crack was found in it and it was never used. In spite ‘of all the ‘ labor . and. effort that went into this gigantic piece of rock, it rests where it has stood for .centuries. It was never-fitted into place in the temple for which it was intended. After being carefully cut it became a castaway.

Thinking of this massive stone reminds me of a statement of the apostle Paul: “but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified (1 Cor. 9:27, NASV). “Disqualified” is one translation. The King James Version uses “castaway.” This word is a translation of the same root word rendered “approved” in 2 Timothy 2:15. The difference being that I Corinthians 9:27 renders it in a negative form and in this form it means “disapproved.” When Paul says he fears being a castaway he is really saying that he fears being disapproved. His fear is that as a workman his service might not receive approval. He fears rejection.

In Paul’s exhortation, “study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed” (2 Tim. 2:15), he encourages us to avoid becoming castaways and hence of no use in the Lord’s vineyard. May we strive to be faithful in our work and worship to God. God help us to be zealous in our service to Him. In so doing we will stand approved unto God. We will not be castaways.

Truth Magazine XIX: 9, p. 136
January 9, 1975