Tuesday 18 October 2016

Bible Book:
2 Timothy

2 Timothy 4:5-17 Tuesday 18 October 2016

Psalm: Psalm 145


Today the Church gives particular thanks to God for the life ofLuke, author of one of the Gospels (and Acts of the Apostles), andcompanion of Paul on many of his journeys.

As Paul went on his missionary trips he didn't just plantchurches but raised up and equipped leaders. One of those dearestto him was Timothy. At the beginning of this letter Paul describeshim as "my beloved child" (2Timothy 1:2).

This letter was written towards the end of Paul's life. He wasunder arrest and suspected he would be found guilty and executed.Despite all this, he did not view his impending death as a failure,rather as an offering to God.

Note the phrase "the time of my departure has come" (v. 6). Theword for departure, by which Paul meant his death, is a word usedfor releasing a beast of burden from its plough; for loosening theropes of a tent or a ship prior to departure. For Paul, death wasto be seen as liberation and the setting off on a newadventure.

It can be easy to skip over the ends of Paul's letters when helists names of people that mean very little to us. But in theseclosing verses we see Paul's human side. He has left his cloakbehind somewhere else (verse 13) and is maybe now feeling the cold- is this a sign that lost property was an issue for churches eventhen?!

Not only did Paul crave material possessions, but alsocompanions. Most had left him - some to seek after their owndesires, some no doubt sent off by Paul on other missionaryactivities. In these final days he longed for Timothy and Mark. Theonly one left with him was Luke, the person whom we celebratetoday. Clearly he was not only a skilled author, but a devotedfriend. He is described elsewhere as a doctor (Colossians 4:14) who had maybe cared for Paul.As Paul prepared to set sail on his next adventure Luke was one thelast companions he had.

To Ponder

  • What qualities do you look for in a companion? What do you feelyou offer?
  • Is there a particular image or metaphor for death that you havefound most useful? If so, what is it? And how do you find ithelpful?
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