“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.” (2 Tim. 4:6)
Paul was not the only one to realize this, men of God before and after him have known this, for a lack of a better word, feeling. It is more than just the final days of life being realized, more than the decades finally taking their toll on our frail flesh, it is the knowledge that the Lord has finished the work through you that He called you to do.
The Christian life should not end in regret, though there will be many of them for most of us, nor should it end with any semblance of pride or accomplishment, the work for the glory of God was done through us, not by us, though we were in agreement with the Lord and humbly offered ourselves to Him for that purpose. It is the knowledge that we will be going home soon.
So then, I offer you another verse for your contemplation, Galatians 6:17, “From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” Paul was beaten, whipped, left for dead, and much more, for one singular reason, to bring the knowledge of the grace of God through Jesus Christ for the salvation of a man’s soul to all who would accept it. From small little villages, right up to Caesar’s throne room, all he met needed to hear of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love offered to them from God through Him. The way to avoid the wrath of God, the only way to eternal life, the only message worth preaching.
“For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.” (Acts 9:16)
And he has not been alone in this suffering. Those that are called by God are used by God, and always for His glory, and those that are chosen will always fulfill 2 Timothy 3:12, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
I cannot say what Paul’s last night was like, there may have been a small amount of fear, that would be normal, we are all human, but I would guess that most of it was spent in prayer. The days of writing letters, what we call epistles, was over. Perhaps he ran them through his head, wondering if he should have added something to one of them, or left something out in another, but there was no changing any of that now. The drink offering was being poured out.
Every man of God who has been called to a specific purpose thinks like this, will this be the last letter, will this be the final time I have an opportunity to speak to this person, it brings not only a sense of urgency, but one of firm resolve, to speak boldly, in truth and love each and every time.
This, my friends, is very serious business.
It is not heard much from the pews these days, this serious business of serving the Almighty, it is lackadaisical at best, and at worst can barely be called a worship service. “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:6)
The promises are what we rely on, trusting that what God has called us to do He will give us the power, strength, guidance and wisdom to complete. Most people fear death, even those who are born-again fear the way that it may arrive. Men of God are no different, save in this regard, they fear they have missed something, that some truth the Lord imparted to them was missed by them, that they should have spoken more at length to that one person, expounded more clearly the truths of the Scriptures to that other person, that they will not be able to say when they are being poured out, “I fought a good fight.”
If you are truly a man of God, called by God for His glory, then you understand this poorly written letter completely.