Friday, May 3, 2013

People Near and Far

There are people in your life who are with you and those who are not. There are all kinds of reasons for this.

"Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. Do your best to come to me soon. For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, 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 deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. Erastus remained at Corinth, and I left Trophimus, who was ill, at Miletus. Do your best to come before winter. Eubulus sends greetings to you, as do Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brothers. The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you." 2 Timothy 4:8-22 ESV

That is big chunk of scriptures but I see a theme in it that runs through it. It is filled with people who have come and gone... friends and enemies... anticipation and warning... greetings and crowns.

It is good to meditate on grace and then on each name and how Paul was related to each one. What does a gracious mind think about people?

Titus, Paul's son in the faith, was far away in Paul's time of need. Titus was off functioning in God's call. It was right for Titus to be where he was. Demas was also far away but it was desertion. God was close and far at the same time... a reward was waiting and yet help was near.

Paul warned Timothy about Alexander. The message had sunk deep into each man. One embraced it and the other opposed it.

It always saddens me when people talk of cutting off those that 'don't love them unconditionally' and surrounding yourself with people who do. Paul didn't do that... even with the ones that left him to face a trial. He brought no charge against them. He was wise as a serpent but innocent as a dove.

Paul appreciated those that were close and sent greetings to those were far away. He had his mind on Christ... knowledge of a reward produced endurance... in hope he reached for provision both natural and spiritual... he treasured and rehearsed love in his mind. He prayed for people.

My plan, by faith, is to look at these names today and as I think of Paul's people I'm going to pray for my people... both near and far.

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