Death focuses our minds. In light of eternity, the lights of this world lose their lustre. Few think about possessions owned and monies earned. Instead, our thoughts turn to people loved—and who loved in return; to joys and sorrows, victories and defeats. Sadly, some die with resentments for harms done and regrets for dreams unfulfilled. These people die without dignity, for they die without grace. A grace-filled death only comes about after a grace-filled life. Like few others, Paul lived with grace and died with grace—grace to the very end.
Erosion is a slow and silent process and no one is immune from it. If you don’t stop yourself in a downward spiral, then last week’s wrong choice doesn’t seem so bad this week. And on and on.
The world says our main goal should be getting what we want. And if we have to sin in order to do so, that’s OK. But the reality is getting what you want can leave a wake of victims. Sin always has consequences.
It’s probably true that most North Americans have at least six copies of the Bible in their possession—and that doesn’t count digital copies! We’re blessed with the freedom to read and own the Bible, but often we take the Bible for granted. Why not read through the Bible this year?
Leadership isn’t for the faint of heart—not because it’s so demanding (though it is) but because it’s so isolating. This was true of Paul. All his life, he was engaged in the nitty-gritty of ministry. But sitting in a dark dungeon awaiting death, loneliness crept into his lap and refused to leave. So Paul took his pen and wrote his friend. In his letter, he described his circle of honour and dishonour—those who had remained loyal and those who had done him harm. More painfully aware of his aloneness with each word, Paul pled for Timothy to come…and come quickly.
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