2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18
4:6 As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing…At my first defense no one came to my support, but all deserted me. May it not be counted against them! But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and save me for his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
These words from 2 Timothy are the moving testimony at the end of Paul’s life. Paul who traveled all over Europe and Asia to spread the news about Christ’s love to non-Jews and wrote to the many communities he started in letters we still read today. In his writings he reminded the communities of God’s love and grace of Jesus Christ.
We hear these words today as Paul reflects on his life –like a eulogy at the funeral of a great leader. These words give us admiration of a life well lived, the memory to live from, and the inspiration to live a good life in the future. These metaphors of a life well lived echo in funerals and reflections at end of life times…fought the good fight, finished the race, kept the faith.
These metaphors can inspire us today as people who seek to be faithful. To keep going and to be able to do the next faithful step each day.
In the earliest Methodist class meetings, people shared their experiences of where they saw God at work, how it is with soul and gave testimony to how God continues to work with such honesty and awareness of God’s grace.
Today, you may be in a season where you can echo the beautiful words of Paul –where you feel you are “poured out as a libation” – a drink offering over the altar. Take heart. In this season, be inspired anew today to hear God’s grace for you. Take a moment to notice God’s grace for you no matter what and give testimony to the way God’s at work in your life and keep going. May you be encouraged as we continue Christ’s and Paul’s mission today.
O God, who listens to us when we pray. Fill us anew with your Spirit. Help us to run the race with perseverance, keep the faith and share your unending love. In Jesus Name we Pray, Amen.