Tag Archives: 2 Timothy 4:6-8 & 16-18

Didn’t He Do Well! (Did He?)

How well do we think we have lived?  Do we think we have done well?  Do we think we have made a huge mess of things?  Do we think we have plodded along ok, muddling through as best we could?  Are we confident or worried?

How do we think we will be greeted by God when our time comes to meet him face to face?

2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18 (CEV)

Now the time has come for me to die. My life is like a drink offering being poured out on the altar. I have fought well. I have finished the race, and I have been faithful. So a crown will be given to me for pleasing the Lord. He judges fairly, and on the day of judgment he will give a crown to me and to everyone else who wants him to appear with power.

16 When I was first put on trial, no one helped me. In fact, everyone deserted me. I hope it won’t be held against them. 17 But the Lord stood beside me. He gave me the strength to tell his full message, so that all Gentiles would hear it. And I was kept safe from hungry lions. 18 The Lord will always keep me from being harmed by evil, and he will bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. Praise him forever and ever! Amen.

And here is the answer to Jeremiah’s cry that only God can help.  Now we have the other side of judgement – God standing beside his people.  We stand with his strength, not our own.  We work in his power alone.  Whatever we have done, whatever we deserve, God welcomes us to him.  Even Paul, with all he had done in work for God, all he had suffered, all the lives he had reached – he is fully aware that it is God, and he alone, who will bring Paul into his Kingdom.  It is God who has kept him thus far, and God who will keep him for eternity.

That is the hope on which we rely.  Not the hope of all the good things we have done, our amazing ministry, our faithfulness, our lives lived pleasing to God – because by those criteria all of us will have failed.  If we trust in ourselves we will be sadly disappointed.  If we trust in God, he will never disappoint us.  But God does not fail, so it is fortunate for us, that it is on him that we rely.

Yes, we need to do our bit – but that is never what will save us.  Alone it is not enough – but God is.  The loving, forgiving, merciful God waits to welcome us – each one of us – you and me.

Thank you Lord
that you are my hope,
my truly saving grace.
Whatever I think I have done
is not enough
– but you are.
However badly I think I have done,
you still welcome me.
You alone are my Saviour
and my hope.
I stand in your strength
not mine.
And I praise and worship you

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Running for home

Watching the recent Commonwealth Games showed a lot about racing and taking part.

 

To race for your country is clearly an honour.  Some of the races were very closely fought.  In some others there were obvious winners, and in some races people who came in a fair distance after everyone else – but all of them were running their race, and running the best they could.  It appears that many of the competitors would have had every excuse not to take part, or not try their best – but they still got up there and got on with it – I’m not sure I would.

Paul likens his life to a race.  He is content that he has done his best.  But the prize in the race of life is not a gold medal, or the honour of being a champion, or holding a world record.  What God gives to those who finish the race with him is being put right with him.

For however hard we train, whatever course we take, there will always be things that we get wrong.  When I know I’ve got something wrong I feel awful, but God gives us the chance to make it right.  He alone can put things right – that is what he will do for us.

 

I felt so sorry for those who lagged a long way behind in races.  To see everyone else well ahead and know that your best is not as good as theirs, must be dis-heartening.  But that is not Gods way.  As Paul recalls being deserted and all alone, he asserts also that God stayed with him and gave him strength.  It is in that power that he finished his race, and in that same power and strength we can run ours.

When we feel that we are ploughing a lonely furrow, when our fight seems solitary, when we feel we are lost – God is there with us.  He goes as slow as we need to, or as fast as we are able.

He accompanies us on our journey home.  Back to safety.  Finishing in a place where all those wrong turns, bad decisions and horrific experiences no longer count.  God rescues us and takes us to his kingdom – but he is also with us on the journey.  Because the story of God is not just about life ever after, it is about life here and now.

So lets take part in the race, push for home, but know who runs with us.