2 Tim 4:6-8, 16-18
We have been working through Paul’s (who was old) letters to Timothy, who was young. So there is a sense in which it is quite apt for us to hear these words at an all-age worship service, and especially at a baptism. Paul feels the he is nearing the end of his ministry; he is certainly closer to the finish line than the young Timothy. And whether we like it or not, many of us here know, we know that we are “closer to the finishing line” than many of those around us.
And there are many different ways to finish:
Young Luhan, like all of us, faces a life made up in fact of many different races. At baptism, we celebrate that Lindrique has come to the end of the “race” that was pregnancy......and that ended......YAY......but the race, the marathon of life continues......tonight we will be having our Matric / exam service......which will be asking for strength for this final burst, the matric exams, and other year-end exams......and they’ll finish......but the race / marathon will continue. So this morning I am going to lift some themes from our readings, points for us to remember, for these parents to teach Luhan, for us to teach our children, points for each of us to remember as we continue to run the race set before us:
For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near.
The drink offering was the last part of the offering – the best wine you could offer......thrown onto the burning offering. Even at the end of his life, Paul sees himself as giving of his best.
Point 1: Give of your best......always and everywhere.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
This is really 3 points, but the first is a repeat of the last.......What you do......do well.
Point 2: Finish what God called you to start.
And most important, point 3: Keep the faith......why? Because:
At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth.
Point 4: The race / marathon can be lonely. The number of hands that would go up if I were to ask who has been deserted / betrayed by those closest to you, the hands would be many.
Point 5: Don’t hold it against them – forgive.
Point 6: The Lord will stay at your side, will be your strength, will deliver you from the lion’s mouth.
The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Point 7: Just n case you haven’t got the message....Timothy.......you and me – remember: “The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom.”
Point 8: Live lives that give glory to God.