The Life Project: 2nd Timothy
Paul writes the second letter to Timothy while he is sitting in a Roman
prison awaiting execution. He would never leave that prison; never
again see his beloved son in the faith. It is from this vantage point that
Paul writes. His aim is to communicate some final words of
encouragement that might sustain Timothy through the difficult times
after his death. We have in 2nd Timothy a beautiful letter of inspiration,
wisdom and friendship that has been cherished throughout the years.
A letter like this, certainly leaves me wondering what I will spend my
final days on earth doing. I wonder who I will be investing in. I wonder
what words of wisdom, or folly, I might be imparting to those I love. If I
could plan it out, I would be sure to visit each of my children and
grandchildren, if I have them by then. I would tell them of the immense
love that I have for them and the immeasurable love that their Father
in Heaven has for them. I would admonish them to not be afraid to ask
questions, but to not let questions get in the way of faith. I would
remind them that because they have been shown such great Love and
Mercy, that they have a responsibility to show others love and mercy
and to help those less fortunate then themselves.
If I had it to plan out, I would also encourage my husband and tell him
that the joy of my life had been to walk alongside him. I would
encourage him to not grow weary in doing good because there are
rewards waiting for him in heaven. I would urge him to take an
occasional break because it is necessary and will help rejuvenate his
spirit. I would remind him that the only opinion that matters is our
Lord’s and so he shouldn’t worry too much when people get mad at
him. I would certainly remind him that if you wash the dishes right
away, food doesn’t get caked on them and they are much easier to
To the precious people God has put in my path, I would exhort them to
keep pursuing God and His Holiness. I would counsel them that the
Kingdom of Heaven is now, and they can live in the freedom Christ
purchased for them now. I would plead with them to not get bogged
down in the cares of this world, but to keep their eyes on Jesus the
author and perfecter of our faith.
If I had it to plan out, this is how I would spend my last days. But life
does not work that way. I am not promised tomorrow. In fact today
may be my last day. It could in a year. It could be 10 years, 20 years,
50 years from now. But more than likely, I will not have the luxury of
knowing when my last day will be. This is a sobering fact. Because if I
died today, that would make my last day yesterday and it fell so far
short of my plan. Instead of encouraging my children, I got onto them
for keeping a messy room. Instead of spending time with my boys, I
watched a TV show. Instead of encouraging my husband, I just sat
beside him in our house and didn’t pay much attention to him at all. I
didn’t reach out to friends. I didn’t serve the less fortunate. I just went
through the motions at work, not stopping to thank God for the people
He had put in my path. The fact is my life was kind of pointless
So here is my November 5th resolution. I am going to, in the words of
the great Tim McGraw, live like I was dying. I am going to cut down on
the wasted moments. I am going to turn off the mindless chatter and
become more intentional with my words. I am going to serve more,
forgive more, love more. I am going to take a deep breath, and pray to
our Father before I step foot out of bed each morning. I am going to do
this not because the morning is more holy than other parts of the day,
but because as soon as I get up I could be screaming at my kids that
they are making me late, rushing past my husband in the hallway and
ignoring phone calls from a friend in need. I need a “first thing”
reminder to focus on the things of God, the important, lasting things
and to just let the trivial stuff go.
One of my favorite poems is called The Psalm of Life by Henry
Wadsworth Longfellow. I have included it here. Not as perfect as
God’s Word, but still a beautiful reminder to seize the day.
Tell me not, in mournful numbers, "Life is but an empty dream!"
For the soul is dead that slumbers, And things are not what they
Life is real! Life is earnest! And the grave is not its goal;
"Dust thou art, to dust returnest," Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow, Is our destined end or way; But to act,
that each to-morrow
Finds us farther than to-day.
Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world's broad field of battle, In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle! Be a hero in the strife!
Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant! Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,--act in the living Present! Heart within, and God o'erhead!
Lives of great men all remind us We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us Footprints on the sands of time;
Footprints, that perhaps another, Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother, Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing, With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing Learn to labor and to wait.