By L&T Columnist Gary Damron
At a memorial service last week, my brother-in-law shared that his dad had written a letter every week to his children. Now that he’s gone, those letters will serve as a tangible reminder of the character and love of their father.
As the apostle Paul was facing death in a Roman prison, he reached an ‘airplane crash situation’ in which he knew he had very little time left to communicate. He chose to write to the young pastor Timothy, his “son in the Lord,” and in 2 Timothy chapter 4 reveals what he felt was most important to communicate.
First, Paul urged him and us to keep an eternal perspective. “...In view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge” (verse 1).
Let’s say a long electrical cord signifies a person’s life out into eternity. Most of us have a preoccupation with the plug – the very small appendage at the end of the cord. Our plug represents only our 70 or 80 years on earth. What we really need to begin considering is the rest of the cord, which represents our eternity. What in this life will have an impact out beyond this short time here?
Each of us is an eternal being. If we believe this there are three things that view will give us more of; courage, confidence and clarity.
C.S. Lewis wrote, “The remarkable thing about God is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else; when you don’t fear God you fear everything.”
After gaining an eternal perspective, we can begin to share God’s message – become his delivery person. When my best friend and I were in college he began a job with the U.S. Postal Service which carried him through to retirement, while I had only a part-time job delivering for a florist. Some of his deliveries were pleasant, but many pieces were bills, collection notices or just plain junk. Each time I rang a doorbell there was a recipient happy to see that I’d brought good news.
Each believer is called to become in effect preachers, and not just on Sunday. Through our daily lives and the messages we bring we can correct incorrect ideas, rebuke incorrect actions, and replace discouragement with hope. Many people’s lives depend on us carrying the message only we can deliver.
Finally, Paul told Timothy to expect great challenges. “...The time will come...they will turn their ears away from the truth” (verses 3,4). We’re urged to keep our head, stay on mission, and do the “work” of an evangelist.
Sometimes our unchecked emotions can distract us from staying on task; other times our own discouragement or frustration paralyzes us to the good we could do. Ray Johnston wrote, “Our greatest fear should not be of failure – but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.”
The neat thing about the extension cord is that if we plug in to the source of God’s power, we can carry out Paul’s “charge” to Timothy. The bottom line for each of our lives is to seek what’s really important, and then look for ways to convey that to others.