9 Do your best to come to me soon, 10 for Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia,[a] Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful in my ministry. 12 I have sent Tychicus to Ephesus. 13 When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. 14 Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will pay him back for his deeds. 15 You also must beware of him, for he strongly opposed our message.
16 At my first defense no one came to my support, but all deserted me. May it not be counted against them! 17 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. 18 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.
19 Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus remained in Corinth; Trophimus I left ill in Miletus. 21 Do your best to come before winter …
Paul was one of the most prolific writers among the early followers of Jesus. Thirteen of the letters included in our New Testament come to us under Paul’s name and influence. The early church considered Paul’s words to churches and church leaders to be scripture – the very Word of God. In wondering what God might say to us in our time, I have been reading the closing remarks in some of Paul’s letters.
Where lots of Paul’s letters were addressed to churches and groups of Christians, there is a smaller collection of these letters, known as the “Pastoral Epistles.” Where we find Paul, the pastor/mentor writing to younger ministry companions.
Paul started II Timothy writing about the deep friendship between Paul and Timothy. Paul recounted how he had known Timothy’s mother and grandmother and their deep faith, which was certain dwelt also in his close companion, Timothy.
II Timothy ends with another demonstration of this friendship between these two followers of Jesus. Paul asks Timothy to do his best to come and visit Paul soon. It seems that other mutual friends, Demas, Crescens, Titus, and Tychicus have moved on. Luke has remained with Paul. But Paul longs for the presence of Timothy.
Do your best to come before winter…
Paul was in prison and could not travel. Paul was getting on in years and winter was coming, with hardships and the reminder of the passing of yet another season. And Paul just longed to see his friend again.
I have heard the term “the ministry of presence.” Sometimes we need to have someone present with us, and we need to be present with them.
In this time of distancing and separation, our presence, by phone or face to face – six feet apart of course – may be the answer to someone’s prayer that we come.
God, help me to hear the appeal of some the dear ones in my life. Help me to be present with them in whatever way I can. And let me come (and go) well before winter. Amen.