6-7: "As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. 7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." - The end is near. Paul has done what God has asked him to do.
8: "From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for His appearing." - In spite of all the pain and suffering in Paul's life, His reward awaits - a glorious reward with Christ in heaven.
17: "But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion's mouth." - To the end, Paul is true to his purpose - proclaiming the Gospel to the world.
18: "The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and save me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen." - Paul had faced imprisonment, torture, raging storms, abuse, starvation, exposure, and the threat of death. All of these things he had endured for the sake of sharing the news of Christ to the world. But even with knowledge that these were probably his last words to Timothy, his beloved friend, he was certain of the rescue that lay in store.
Points to Contemplate:
Are you keeping the faith?
As your life is poured out and as each day passes, steadily moving towards your day of departure, are you allowing your self to be fully used by God in the building of His kingdom? In all things you face, can you say that you have "fought the good fight?" Are you running a race of endurance? Do you fully accept God's plan for your life and take each moment as an opportunity to do His work in the world around you? Do you willingly step out into the world each day seeking circumstances and situations in which you are able to share the Good News of Jesus Christ?
Have you been rescued? Have you faced the mouths of lions and the swords of abuse that life has brought your way? Has God repeatedly pulled you from the pit of despair and ruin? Why? For what purpose has God reached into your life and rescued you? Think of those moments when life for you was on the brink of destruction. Think of how, for a brief moment, you knew that it was only the hand of God saving you from total obliteration. Why has God saved you? Why has He taken the time to bring you, you personally, back into the world of the living? Has He saved you for a greater purpose? Has "the Lord stood by (you) and (given you) strength, so that through (you) the message might be fully proclaimed and all the (world) might hear it?" Can you think of a greater purpose than this?
Are you being saved for God's heavenly kingdom? As you face the attacks of evil in your life, do you keep your eye on the heavenly reward that awaits you? Do you recognize and accept that all issues in life pale in comparison to the glory of eternal life? Will you wear the crown of righteousness that God has waiting for you? Will the knowledge of His love and promise of His glory help you persevere through all things in life? Promises of the Gospel:
Paul, amazingly solid in his faith, could always see the glory that lay in store for him regardless of life's situations. In this last letter to Timothy, he wrote words of encouragement to a young man filled with worry and concern. Timothy's teacher and friend would soon die. The church he had been called to lead was struggling. He felt alone, he was troubled, and the future seemed dark and foreboding. Yet Paul is hope-filled. In this letter Paul teaches us all that everything we face in life, regardless of the pain, can be endured because we will be rescued. It is a promise that Christ fulfilled on the cross. Our purpose is to persevere and continue the race. We are to fight a good fight. We are to spread the word of Jesus Christ to the world with our every breath. As we turn our focus to this single purpose and follow God in everything we do, we become as faithful as Paul. When the good fight is over and our lives have been "poured out as a libation" we will then receive our crown of righteousness from God and live in the glow of His glory for ever and ever.