Reading: 2nd Timothy 4:6-8
Verse 8: “There is in store for me the crown of righteousness.”
Today and tomorrow we look at the closing of Paul’s letters to Timothy. These are words Paul writes as he prepares himself to face death. Verses 6-8 are deeply personal. Paul shares them with Timothy as words of encouragement and hope. We are blessed to have these words shared with us too.
Verse 6 acknowledges a reality that we all face. The “time for our departure” will come. Currently this is true for 100% of us. Paul, reflecting back on his life, writes, “As for me, I am being poured out like a drink offering.” Other translations read, “as a libation.” Here Paul is connecting back to his Jewish roots. A drink offering or libation was a liquid offering added to a grain or animal sacrifice. It enhanced the gift. Paul is connecting the sacrifice he has made and is about to make to the sacrifice Jesus gave for you and me and for all of humanity.
In verse 7 we find words of great faith. They are words any of us would be pleased to hear at our funeral. There is no hint of pride or bragging in Paul’s words. They are an honest assessment and they are great words of inspiration and encouragement. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” A life well-lived is rooted in the faith. It is a great testimony and witness that we can all claim and live out as our own.
Moving to the last verse for today, we read, “There is in store for me the crown of righteousness.” Because of verse 7, Paul can write these words with absolute assurance. Oh to have such rock solid faith! With confidence Paul looks forward to the day when Christ Jesus will crown him in glory. And then Paul closes this thought with great hope for you and for me: “not only me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” Paul writes not only to Timothy but to you and me too. The crown is in store. Thanks be to God.
Prayer: Lord God, as I journey, help me, strengthen me, encourage me, guide me. Empower me to fight the good fight of faith each day. Enable me to finish the race you’ve planned out for me. Walk daily with me, Lord Jesus, helping me to keep the faith. And one day welcome me into your eternal glory. May it be so in and through Jesus Christ. Amen.