Paul’s Valedictory – 4/21/21
The last recorded writing of the great apostle is found in his second letter to young Timothy, a disciple of Paul’s who loved the Lord and served Him, and Paul, well. While this final chapter says a lot about Paul’s ending, it speaks more to where he was going, where we are going, after we depart from this life, be it by sword, by sickness, by accident, by Rapture or old age. We all have an expiration date on this physical body, so we had better take good care of it while we’re still using it because it tends to wear out over time, usage, and abuse.
The Apostle Paul said it this ways in his final valedictory,
“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” – 2 Timothy 4:6-8
- Running a race with a mindset to finish it was a chief definition for a win for the great apostle, so it should be for us also. Maturing in one’s faith was equally important for Paul, as it should be for us.
Keeping our eyes on the ultimate prize that awaits us, and ‘all those who have loved Christ’ appearing’ was a main motivator for Paul. His example for us is our example for others who hold us in high esteem. While it’s true that this life is a gift from God and every moment should be savored and experienced in light of His great ability to guide us through it; it’s equally true that we should keep in mind that everything that we do in this life is an opportunity to represent God’s kingdom and His hope for salvation for others who would know and be glad, be saved, and be welcomed into a wonderful relationship with Jesus by faith in Him and His Word.
Right now I am settling into our new home in Blue Springs, MO. There’s a lot to do in getting things placed where they should go, hooked up, set up, mounted up, and stored up for the next time we will need to access them. It’s just a bunch of stuff that’s going to burn or be buried in a landfill one day. I was never one to get too attached to my stuff and I am glad that I don’t have much stuff that really matters; suffice it to say, I really am a minimalist. My sights are on the greater prize of going home and being with Jesus and all who have loved His appearing,’ that is, all of those who long for the resurrection, our resurrection, our rapture.
We are part of a vast family of people from every nation throughout the NT era who have come to know Jesus as Lord. While there are many more who need to know the Lord (and they will), our job is to share our faith with as many as the Lord brings into our path, wherever that path may lead us. Our steps are still ordered (established) by the Lord and we must delight in our walking in them. David wrote an entire psalm (Psalm 37) that speaks to this fact. As we come to love the Lord Jesus, so we will come to discover that the steps He has ordered for us are done so for His glory. When we get to the end of this life and we get to write our final valedictory, may we, like the great apostle, be able to say,
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
– 2 Timothy 4:7,8
The judgment Paul is referencing here is the Judgment Seat of Christ (aka The Bema Seat), a judgment reserved only for NT believers. It doesn’t determine our salvation, but our rewards, or loss of rewards, depending on how we lived. I thank God we will be judged by the Righteous Judge, the Author and Creator of all life; Jesus. I long for this Day and for the infinite days that follow, living and being with Jesus and all those who loved His appearing. This is our final valedictory and like Paul, it’s one that is well written and much anticipated.