2 Timothy 4
Having fought the good fight. Having seen glorious highs and gruesome lows. From a prison in Rome shortly before his death, scholars believe 2 Timothy was Paul’s last letter and last communication to the churches. And these are his final penned words...
“Be diligent to come to me quickly,” Paul is eager to see his friend and protégé one more time.
“Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world and has departed for Thessalonica.” In both Colossians and Philemon, Paul speaks of Demas as a fellow worker. But now he has chosen the world. He lost his love for truth. How heartbroken Paul must be.
“Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia…and Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus.” Unlike Demas, these have left on mission; carrying on Paul’s ministry…but nonetheless, their presence is missed by him.
“Only Luke is with me.” Trusted, loyal Luke remains by his side. We need that one; the one who stays.
“Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry.” A beautiful picture of redeemed relationships. Mark, who caused the separation of Paul and Barnabas. Paul had refused to bring Mark along, still bitter about an earlier abandonment. Some friendships come in and out of season. Restoration happened between Mark and Paul, and Paul longs to see him.
“Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come, and the books, especially the parchments.” The simple things Paul wants in his last days...his friends, his cloak, and words...especially Scripture.
Paul, who boldly planted churches and preached the Gospel. Paul, who wrote the most powerful presentation and defense of the Gospel. Paul, who learned to be content in all things. At then end, it is his people, a little comfort, and God’s Word.
And here we get a peek into Paul’s tribe at the end of his life. Remnants of a strong and messy community. But aren’t they all?
Some have carried the baton to finish the work he started. Some are literally by his side. And some have painfully deserted him; have chosen another side.
Sometimes our tribe will lift us up, and sometimes people will let us down. We are human; we are sinners. But our tribe matters. We prefer to have them near. We covet their prayers and love and support. We are stronger and can do more together.
Paul’s final penned words are full of emotion. This author and apostle I admire so much values his people, but knows the true source of all comfort and contentment is when Jesus is by his side...
“At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion's mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” 2 Timothy 4:15-18
We need a strong, steady, loyal tribe, no doubt. But our most consistent, powerful, and important tribe member is Jesus. He will be the one standing with us at the end; He will be the one to usher us safely into His heavenly kingdom.
So, what does your tribe look like? Is Jesus invited?
All 1 1 Corinthians 1 Peter 1 Thessalonians 1 Timothy 2 & 3 John 2 Corinthians 2 Peter 2 Thessalonians 2 Timothy Acts Colossians Ephesians Galatians Hebrews Info James John Jude Luke Mark Matthew Philemon Philippians Revelation Romans TItus