Bible Reading: 2 Timothy 4:1-5
We do not know whether Timothy got to see Paul in Rome before he was executed, and so as far as we know these are Paul’s last words to Timothy.They are a powerful challenge, not only to Timothy, but also to us.
Paul’s introduction to his final words to Timothy begins on a very serious note! The word “charge” is ‘diamarturomai’ [Grk] and is both a solemn oath and has a legal meaning. It is the picture of the aged apostle calling his young disciple Timothy to the front of God’s judicial bench, and charging him under oath with the awesome task of proclaiming God’s Word. Those who hear him will themselves have to stand one day before Jesus Christ as judge!
Rick Renner gives a remarkable translation of 2 Timothy 4:2, based on the Greek text. He translates it as,
“Take a firm stand and resolve to stay at your post! Regardless of whether times are good or bad, that is your post – your place of responsibility – so dig in, take a firm stand, and resolve that you are going to be faithful.”
Timothy may have felt like running away but this was a strong word. We know that Timothy’s struggles did pass. He became the respected leader of the churches in Asia Minor. Timothy remained at his post as senior pastor of the church in Ephesus. He went through good seasons and bad seasons, but he stayed at his post until the very end.
There is never victory in running away from a situation. The one time I did that it led me into very deep water. Yes, God is sovereign and overrules, when we humble ourselves and repent, but I could have saved myself a lot of pain. Many years ago I heard a friend say, “The way you leave a church, will determine how you enter the next one.” There will always be good and bad times – why let a few dark clouds stop you from being faithful?
Paul’s final word contained four instructions [4:5]
“Be watchful in all things” – The Greek word translated to be watchful is ‘nepho’, meaning “to abstain from wine,” “to keep sober.” Literally keep cool and don’t react quickly!
“Endure afflictions” – Stand firm, and persevere when difficult times come!
“Do the work of an evangelist” – Never forget to keep winning lost souls. In the midst of church activities it is easy to lose this cutting edge.
“Fulfil your ministry” – “Complete the ministry God has given you” [NLT]
Why is it important to stay at your post, and to stay in the church where God has planted you?
If the person who led you to Christ and discipled you were to give you four instructions what do you think that they would say to you?