CASTING OFF, SETTING SAIL
Lord, thank You for the confidence I have to face death with no dread.
Read 2 TIMOTHY 4:1–8
4 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
How far through your life on earth might you be? What might you want to say when you approach its end?
This is the final chapter of Paul’s final letter. He describes his imminent death as his “departure” (6), a word used for the loosening of the mooring ropes as a ship begins its journey from the shore. Note his assessment of his life and service as he looks back (7) and his expectation as he looks forward (8).
Facing martyrdom, Paul’s concern is not for himself but for Timothy, in particular that his young protégé will not shrink from his calling but will continue to “preach the word” (2). The word “preach” may produce in our minds a picture of a minister speaking in a church building, and most of us will think, “This doesn’t apply to me.” However, the word literally means “announce” or “herald,” used of an emissary giving a message from a king to a group of citizens, usually in the marketplace. So we are all “preachers” in the sense of having the privilege and responsibility of sharing our faith with those we meet in the “marketplaces” of our daily lives. Timothy is charged with doing this “in season and out of season” (2), which does not mean constantly haranguing colleagues, neighbors and family members with the Gospel whether they want to hear it or not. Rather, it suggests that there will be “winter” seasons, when our witness seems to produce no fruit, and other seasons when the effect of our lives and words becomes apparent. The key is to remain faithful, whether we are in a season of apparent fruitfulness or not.
If you knew that your “departure” from this life were near and you had the opportunity to write a letter or a lengthy email, what would you write and to whom?
Lord, allow my life to continually influence others around me so that when I pass on, my spiritual legacy will endure.
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