My sister and I recently had to move our 91-year-old mother into assisted living from a cottage she had been living in for the past 11 years. My job was to go through our parents’ files and memorabilia dating back to the 1930s: letters, photos, newspaper clippings, genealogical records and more. There was no way to hang on to everything. I had to decide what to keep and what to discard.

Similarly, Paul writes to Timothy as he reflects back on his life, highlighting what is most important for his young disciple to focus on. First, he admonishes Timothy and, by extension, us in AE to “not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord” (2 Tim 1:8) and to be aware that sufferings will come our way. Yet, Paul assures us, “He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” (2 Tim 1:12).

Second, Paul encourages us to “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim 2:1) and to think of ourselves as soldiers or athletes who are able to endure hardship and are focused on the task before them. He instructs us to “shun profane and idle babblings” (2 Tim 2:16), “youthful lusts” (vs 22) and “foolish and ignorant disputes” (vs 23), “knowing that they generate strife” (vs 22).

Third, Timothy is admonished not to be deceived but to focus on the Holy Scriptures, which Paul says “is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16).

Finally, Paul sums up his instructions by writing, “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season” and to “do the work of an evangelist” (2 Tim 4:2, 5).

As we reflect on 60 years of AE ministry, we can rejoice that in so many ways we have embraced these Gospel priorities and look forward in faith to ensure that we hang onto them with renewed fervour.