Reading Through The New Testament – October 7, 2016 - 2 Timothy 4 When people desert you.
There’s a tiredness — not like a good long days work where you fall into bed and sleep satisfied that tasks were finished, and the result was great — No, a tiredness that comes from relationships falling apart, accusations hurled, words said, and people leaving you to do the rest alone.
That’s a tiredness — an exhaustion that I don’t look forward to and don’t wish to experience anymore of.
I’d rather people dessert me than desert me! (this is a stupid joke but I couldn’t resist!)
It’s the fatigue of the heart or of the soul that becomes most crippling.
And lets face it. The church is full of people, and people can make mistakes and hurt you. People can see things differently and not agree, and theres offense and so on.
I picked up on this at the end of 2 Timothy. Paul has seen the exhaustion of people deserting him.
He’s got his painful list of friends who are no longer friends.
Demas - gone
Crescens - gone
Titus - gone
Alexander - not only gone, but left me with wounds.
Luke - the only one left. My only friend right now. Thank God for him.
And you Timothy… And bring Mark as well.
At least I have you.
I’m starting to see why Paul has such an affection for Timothy. It’s partly because Timothy is staying and persevering with Paul. Paul doesn’t have to feel so alone.
He’s got Luke, Timothy and Mark.
But he’s got so much more than that…
“But the Lord stood by my side and gave me strength”
“The Lord will rescue me and take me to His Kingdom”
The reason Paul doesn’t become bitter and give up is because the presence of God is so strong and the hope of His promises are amazing.
We’ve all got those same lists right? The people that left and hurt us. I’ve got them. It sucks. I think about the names on the list frequently and feel the weight in my heart. Replay the offenses I’ve made and that were made against me.
If I’m not careful I can fall deep into a chasm of self-pity.
But through the pain of my lists, the goodness of the Lord has been even better.
He’s never left me.
His presence has kept me going. Kept my heart from becoming bitter. His promises have given me hope.
As Paul says, his life became a drink offering poured out on God’s altar.
Could there be a more beautiful image?
Well, yeah, this is hard sometimes. It’s lonely and makes me tired. But my life is a drink offering anyway. I spill it out and pour it over the altar of the Lord. He’s worthy of it.
So, take your list — the one with all the names of the people that hurt you — write it out. Then do this, write out the names of the few that are still there, and close the list with this:
And God is still with me. He’ll never leave me. His promises are better than anything! I will gladly pour my life out like a drink offering for Him who has never and will never leave me!