PAUL: LONELY, COLD, BORED
Lord, it is so gratifying to know that You are with me.
Read 2 TIMOTHY 4:9–22
9 Do your best to come to me quickly, 10 for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry. 12 I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. 13 When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.
14 Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. 15 You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.
16 At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. 17 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. 18 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.
19 Greet Priscilla[a] and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus. 21 Do your best to get here before winter. Eubulus greets you, and so do Pudens, Linus, Claudia and all the brothers and sisters.[b]
22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you all.
a 2 Timothy 4:19 Greek Prisca, a variant of Priscilla
b 2 Timothy 4:21 The Greek word for brothers and sisters (adelphoi) refers here to believers, both men and women, as part of God’s family.
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.
Think of someone who has been for you a role model of Christian faithfulness. Thank God for them.
The apostle Paul is sometimes imagined as a driven man, a loner with little capacity for human warmth. But in this passage we encounter a very different person, one of deep emotion with a healthy need for the fellowship of other Christians. Paul asks for people to keep him company, a cloak to keep him warm due to the approach of winter, and scrolls and parchments to keep him occupied. The scrolls and parchments may be Old Testament Scriptures and contemporary writings about Jesus and his message. Timothy may need to come soon before bad weather sets in and makes the journey impossible.
It seems that Paul’s most keenly-felt deprivation is the absence of fellow-Christians, especially since many traveling companions have left him for a variety of good and bad reasons (9–12). It is notable that Paul now values the help of Mark (11), a significant attitude change since John Mark’s earlier desertion. Paul shows similar forgiveness in verse 16. Is God calling you to forgive and restore a relationship with someone who has let you down in the past?
There is a vivid contrast in verses 16 and 17. At Paul’s “first defense,” no one from the Christian community in Rome was willing to stand alongside him, but he had benefited from the faithfulness of his most effective advocate in that “the Lord stood at my side” (17). How does it help you to recognize that the Lord is standing alongside you when you feel alone and vulnerable? What is the balance between trusting only in the Lord and being supported by fellow believers?
Pray for Christians who are feeling lonely, cold or bored, especially those imprisoned for their faith. Is there any other way you could encourage them?
Lord, come to my defense when those around me fail to do so and my enemies are closing in around me, seeking my destruction.
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