A Last Look Around
Lord, thank You for the people who cross my path. Help me love them in spite of those who let me down.
Read 2 TIMOTHY 4:9-22
 Do your best to come to me quickly,  for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia.  Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.  I sent Tychicus to Ephesus.  When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.  Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done.  You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.  At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them.  But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth.  The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.  Greet Priscilla and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus.  Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus.  Do your best to get here before winter. Eubulus greets you, and so do Pudens, Linus, Claudia and all the brothers.  The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhy was Paul upbeat in spite of his dire circumstances?
Paul is sad as he thinks back over many people. There are disappointments: for Paul, these included Demas (9,10) who started well but had been distracted from the Gospel, Alexander who was aggressively against it (14,15), and the whole crowd who simply backed off and kept their heads down when the going got rough (16).
There can be loneliness: the gospel separates us as well as drawing us together. Gospel work can do that for good reasons (10-13) just as Gospel hardship can for poor reasons (16). Either way it can leave us lonely. The great apostle was always working in a team, so we cut ourselves off from people at our peril. His longing for Timothy and Mark to join him is very poignant (11,21) and a great warning against false individualism. We were never intended to be “Lone Ranger” Christians, Christians on our own.
There is always hope in the Lord: “The Lord will judge him …” (14); “the Lord stood with me …” (17); “the Lord will deliver me …” (18). Neither friendship nor disappointment will rob Paul of his confidence or deflect him from his Lord.
Are you trying to be a Christian on your own? Resolve to strengthen your connections to other believers.
Lord Jesus, as I go through life, may I let nothing turn me away from trusting in You and Your ways.