“Grace be with you.” 2 Timothy 4:22
Last words are very important. The last words written by Apostle Paul are found in the Epistle to his beloved son in the faith, Timothy. Paul’s words were specifically to Timothy as well as all believers, “Grace be with you.”
These words are significant as Paul writes from a Roman prison cell awaiting execution. What are Paul’s reflections? Paul has worked diligently for the Lord since his conversion on the Damascus Road. It was not an easy time to be a Christian, after all, Paul himself was on his way to persecute Christians when Jesus turned his life around completely.
Now 30 years later after pouring out his life this is what is his reflection. He has had an uphill battle with ministering to the Gentiles, as a Jew. Often, he is misunderstood by Jews and Gentiles alike. Paul worked tireless at establishing churches and yet, he is writing instructions about some of these churches moving away from the faith and him as well.
As if that is not enough for Paul to endure, his close friends are moving away so as not to be associated with one facing a death sentence. Luke is his sole companion at this low tide of the last days of Paul’s life.
If the story ended there, you might not see the harvest expected for such a faithful worker. After all, some of the churches are falling apart, close friends are departing, ministry opportunity are declining, and imminent martyrdom awaits Paul. To Paul, he may have been sorely disappointed with the current state of the Gentile mission.
What we see some 2,000 years later is a far different story of what Paul saw at the end of his life. The Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write 13-14 of the 27 books of the New Testament. Those books have reached millions of gentiles that confess Jesus as their Savior. The church of Jesus Christ continues to this day all over this world proclaiming the gospel. Even though Paul did not see his harvest, he planted seed that continues to be harvested today. So today Paul’s life encourages us to continue to plant the harvest and know, ”Grace be with you.”
Pastor Ruth Kaunley