2 Timothy 4
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith. – Vs 6-7
What an attitude! Here was Paul, imprisoned in Rome, facing trial and the final days of his life, yet he manages to give Timothy words of encouragement and make this incredible declaration regarding the confident completion of his life's task. Rather than whine about his circumstances or complain about his life being cut short, Paul sees his situation as an offering to God. He is being "poured out" as a sacrifice to God and pleased to do so. In fact, the offering to which he refers is the drink offering found in Leviticus 23:10-14. It was part of the First Fruits offering. The drink offering consisted of about two pints of unmixed wine, which was poured on the grain offering as a symbol of joy. Paul seems to be saying that he is joyful to have his life poured out in the service of God.
But Paul speaks not only with a sense of joy, but with a sense of accomplishment. He has accomplished the assignment given to him by the Lord on the road to Damascus. He has taken the gospel to the Gentiles. He has planted churches, encouraged believers, debated the Judaizers, established leaders, taught sound doctrine, unified Jewish and Gentile believers, and established a solid foundation for the future spread of the church. And he can say, "I have finished the course, I have kept the faith."
How about you and me? Can we say the same thing? Do we view our lives as a drink offering being poured out for God? If we knew these were our last days on earth, could we confidently say that we have fought the good fight, finished the course, and kept the faith? Or would there still be things left undone? Would we feel regret for having set wrong priorities for our lives?
I am encouraged to follow Paul's example. To increasingly see my role here on this planet as one of unselfish service to God. I do not here to make money, seek comfort, enjoy pleasure, pursue my own agenda, or satisfy my own desires. I am a servant of the living God who He has chosen to use for His service, but too often I find myself distracted by the things of this world. I get wrapped in the affairs of everyday life. I get sidetracked by the cares and concerns that crowd in and push aside the agenda He has for me. But Paul encourages me to refocus. He reminds me that I am here for something far greater than my own self-satisfaction. God has given me a job to do. May He find me faithful to do it until Christ returns or until He calls me home.
Father, I want to finish the course well. I want to keep the faith. I want to be faithful to the task you have given me. Forgive me for getting distracted and off course. Forgive me for setting my own agenda for my life. Help me see my life as a drink offering, joyfully poured out each and every day for Your service. Show me how to die to myself and my own will, and live joyfully and faithfully within Yours. Help me to remember that "in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day." Amen