Friday, July 31
“Make every effort to come to me soon;” (2 Timothy 4:9) … If this message isn’t urgent then I don’t know what is! Paul’s departure time has come, and he longs to see his “beloved son” in Christ one last time. God has allowed us to read Paul’s reaction to Timothy’s future visit in 2 Timothy 1:4, “…longing to see you… so that I may be filled with joy”. Fellowship brings hope and strength. However, Paul’s sense of urgency didn’t come from a selfish desire to see Timothy, but from the sheer importance of sharing of the gospel. As we see in 2 Timothy 1:1, there is a promise of life in Christ through the gospel; Paul sees that this message is bigger than himself and he will do whatever it takes for it to not be silenced. He is confident that “the Word of God is not imprisoned,” even when he is (2 Timothy 2:9). Through the power of God, Paul sees Timothy’s potential, and in this letter Paul urges him to endure hardship and do the work of an evangelist — not for his own glory, but for the glory of God. 2 Timothy 4:5 reads, “But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” Paul begs Timothy to rid himself from all distractions and to stay sober minded, fixing his eyes on the prize. Although Paul is knocking on death’s door, he’s still prioritizing God’s will over his own comforts.
If I were Timothy, it would honestly be extremely hard to continue on without Paul; Paul was his role model, his teacher, his mentor, and his friend. How must Timothy have felt traveling to go see Paul, knowing that this was the last time he would see him before he passed? How did Timothy manage to keep going, knowing that one of his best friends died undeservingly and alone, and that he would possibly die the same way? He held on to Paul’s teaching, conduct, purpose, faith etc. (2 Timothy 3:10) and leading by example is one of the most effective ways of teaching. 2 Timothy 4:7, 8 reads, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” Paul is reaching out to Timothy in his final hours saying “I’ve suffered for the gospel, it’s been hard, but it’s all going to be worth it, not just for me, but also for you!”
As a teenager, it’s hard to grasp and understand the true urgency of the gospel. It’s easy to get caught up in social groups, homework, part time jobs, the media, family engagements, and so much more. It’s insanely easy just to say, “Someone else will do it; someone else will share the gospel.” The main focus that the education system tries to instill in today’s youth is the urgency to choose your career path and get a job. For me, it can sometimes be stressful and overwhelming, but Paul gives me hope. This letter displays that no matter what the world says is important, the gospel must always be top priority; the gospel needs to be shared just as much today as it was back then… which means we should be willing to die for it. This may seem scary, but if we constantly hold on to the truth that God strengthens us, is with us, and we will receive our crowns of righteousness when we get to heaven, suffering for the gospel will feel more and more like an honour.
By the Holy Spirit we are empowered to share the gospel. Are we willing to let Him work in us and instill this urgency, or will we let ourselves become complacent? Are you truly willing to give up your life for the gospel, and if not, what is holding you back from realizing the urgency of the sharing the gospel in the times of which we live?