Famous Last Words
28 June 2016
Reading: Amos 1-3; Psalm 80; 2 Timothy 4
6 As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. 7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. 8 And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness that the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that great day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his glorious return. (2 Timothy 4:6-8 NLT)
This is one of the most poignant sections of the Bible for me. Paul is writing from prison, feeling lonely, aware that his life is nearing its end. This is a very personal letter to his son in the faith, Timothy, pastor of the church in Ephesus, a church Paul dearly loved. These words are kind of like “last words” or “last will and testament” in which Paul lets down his guard and simply writes from his heart.
When you come, be sure to bring the coat I left with Carpus at Troas. Also bring my books, and especially my papers. (2 Timothy 4:13 NLT) For some reason, Paul’s request to Timothy to bring his coat and books really touches me. It does more to make Paul human than anything else he has written.
Paul, who has poured out his life in missionary and local church service, is aware the end is near and he’s not going to have the opportunity to do much more ministry. He knows that as Christianity continues to reach out across the world, it now depends on Timothy and the others like him who Paul has taught and mentored.
Paul thinks of all he has done, all the lives he has touched, and all those who are following Christ into a future he knows he will not see! Yet Paul is fully confident in his eternal future in Christ’s Kingdom, and is satisfied that he has done the will of God and fulfilled the purpose for which God called him. May you and I live and serve in such a way that as we look back over our lives and look ahead toward a future we’ll not see with earthly eyes, we can be confident and peaceful!
Father, Please help me to live and serve day by day in such a way that if I have the opportunity to write something to a dear friend as I near the end of my life, I can look back and say “I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.” Amen.