I recently finished reading the book of 2 Timothy. The end of Paul’s letter struck me like it never would have before, and it did because I am currently in quarantine due to the Corona virus. Of course, I recognized Paul’s warning to Timothy to avoid false teachers and that many people will pursue messages that make them feel good rather than following the truth. I can see that being relevant to our world. What struck me the most as I read this chapter was Paul’s final charge, and the condition he was in while writing it.
“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up 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 loved his appearing,” (2 Timothy 4:6-8, ESV).
Paul writes this, not in a comfortable home surrounded by brothers and sisters in Christ or on a mountaintop praying above a beautiful view. He writes this in a prison cell. Most have left him and either deserted the gospel or gone to do their own ministry. The only brother with Paul is Luke. Paul does not complain, he does not comment on how lonely he feels (although he asks Timothy to visit), but he anticipates finally seeing the Lord!
There I was, tempted to feel purposeless and lonely in quarantine. Reading the words of Paul, seeing the joy that he had looking forward to seeing the Lord, and the triumph with which he looked on his life, I cried. I cried because Paul’s faith struck me. Reading the epistles, I knew that Paul loved pure doctrine and boasted in the Lord. I had even memorized Philippians 3, the chapter on joy, but I had never really pictured the true joy that Paul had from knowing Christ until reading this letter.
Oh, how I pray that I would look forward to the Lord’s coming with such hope! Paul’s desire to see the Lord again, knowing that his Savior loved him, is what motivated him to do the ministry he did. Even from a prison cell, Paul prayed for the churches he loved and wrote them letters of encouragement (Philippians 1:7, Colossians 4:3, Philemon 1). He continued working for the sake of the gospel even though he was confined to a prison, “not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me,” (2 Timothy 1:12, ESV).
I pray that as we are quarantined at home for several more weeks, we would not lose heart. The only way to do that is to hold fast to the hope we have, that Jesus Christ has risen from the dead and that he will reward those who seek him. I pray that we do not fall into old sin patterns or waste our days. I pray that we spend time in prayer and the word, really seeking to know the Jesus we worship. I pray that we would walk in the Spirit and follow His guidance in ministry, trusting that His power will work through our limited efforts.
I pray that the Lord gives us joy in seeking Him that will set a pattern for the rest of our lives. This is a life of victory in Jesus. Then we can say with Paul at the end of our lives, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
We can finish our lives rejoicing, knowing that we will see the Savior whom our souls love.
Do not let yourself listen to the teaching from the world that makes you feel good, but denies the gospel. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
Press on to make His power and righteousness known in your life by drawing near to Him in His Word and prayer. (Philippians 3:9-12)
Do the work of an evangelist. Practice sharing the gospel through text, phone call, social media, and old-fashioned letters. This is a great time to practice sharing your faith since you have time to write out the gospel. (2 Timothy 4:5)
Encourage your brothers and sisters in Christ. Schedule regular time of virtual accountability, watch sermons, and send old-fashioned mail. (2 Timothy 2:1-2)
Push yourself to be thankful in suffering, we are blessed beyond imagination in Christ! (2 Timothy 1:8-12)
- Emma Benson, MSU Senior/Nursing Major/BCM Host Team Leader