This section is Paul’s rousing encouragement to Timothy to keep his head up and continue his work. “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word”(2 Tim 4:1-2). God and Jesus are witnesses to the charge Timothy has received. He has the gift, the opportunity, and the expectation; now he must act. There is also a pressing need for Timothy to preach with perseverance: “the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching”(2 Tim 4:3). Rather than being disgusted with a world that loses its appetite for the gospel, Paul urges Timothy to keep preaching.
But Paul’s final encouragement about that is personal. “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”(2 Tim 4:6-7). Paul knows he is soon to die. He has done his work through good times and bad. Timothy not only has an example to emulate, but shoes to fill. Both of them work toward the same reward: “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 Tim 4:8). God will give Paul the crown he has waited and worked toward, but he will give it “not only to me.” This is a reward all Christians will receive.
The promise of eternal life is not only for the super-spiritual. We don’t have to be apostles with a tremendous legacy to have God’s favor. God will give this crown “not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” Our duty is to fight the good fight as it presents itself in our day and time—to finish our race—to keep the faith.
------------- One Thing to Think About: Do I love his appearing? Am I eagerly anticipating the return of Jesus?
One Thing to Pray For: Wisdom to live now in preparation for the end of my life
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