If you knew you were leaving the people you poured your very life into for a long journey, what would you say?
If you knew you were leaving planet earth for heaven, what will you say to your loved ones?
My mom knew in her heart and soul that her trip to the hospital would be her last. After only a few hours of getting her settled, she took me aside, by myself, to leave her last message with me. Mom was a mentor to me in God’s work as well as my mom for all of life. It was hard to hear, “I’m tired, you must let me go.” These words were followed by what dad and I call “the yellow pages”.
In the days that followed, mom was given large amounts of oxygen. She couldn’t speak so she wrote “final instructions” for us—mostly me. She had spent years telling me much the same things, but she needed to say it one more time. She would not settle down until she was given pen and pad. The nurse found a yellow legal pad, so appropriate for this former executive secretary, a business woman for an oil company!
Over the next few days; she wrote her messages. She passed on her responsibilities to me who would take care of dad and manage what she used to manage—their possessions and assets along with final arrangements. After she passed peacefully, my dad carried the yellow pages in his Bible. He and I would read them from time to time, remembering how insistent mom was in instruction, smile at her intended jokes about the hospital, but we also marveled at the depth of love in her message to both of us. I still possess the yellow pages.
I worked hard to follow all the instructions because of the love in my heart I had for mom. I wanted to honor her with my obedience whether I agreed with the instructions or not. She knew what would be best for dad. She knew and passed on her knowledge to me. A mentor’s message is not to be taken lightly, especially when given with extreme love, generous grace, with God’s wisdom flowing through the mentor to the student.
Paul’s is winding up his message to Timothy with his final instructions in much the same way. I can imagine the feelings Timothy had when he read, “You take over. I’m about to die, my life an offering on God’s altar.” Through the tears, Timothy was encouraged with, “This is the only race worth running. I’ve run hard right to the finish, believed all the way. All that’s left now is the shouting—God’s applause!”
2 Timothy 4, The Message
1-2 I can’t impress this on you too strongly. God is looking over your shoulder. Christ himself is the Judge, with the final say on everyone, living and dead. He is about to break into the open with his rule, so proclaim the Message with intensity; keep on your watch. Challenge, warn, and urge your people. Don’t ever quit. Just keep it simple.
3-5 You’re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food—catchy opinions that tickle their fancy. They’ll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages. But you—keep your eye on what you’re doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant.
6-8 You take over. I’m about to die, my life an offering on God’s altar. This is the only race worth running. I’ve run hard right to the finish, believed all the way. All that’s left now is the shouting—God’s applause! Depend on it, he’s an honest judge. He’ll do right not only by me, but by everyone eager for his coming.
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9-13 Get here as fast as you can. Demas, chasing fads, went off to Thessalonica and left me here. Crescens is in Galatia province, Titus in Dalmatia. Luke is the only one here with me. Bring Mark with you; he’ll be my right-hand man since I’m sending Tychicus to Ephesus. Bring the winter coat I left in Troas with Carpus; also the books and parchment notebooks.
14-15 Watch out for Alexander the coppersmith. Fiercely opposed to our Message, he caused no end of trouble. God will give him what he’s got coming.
16-18 At my preliminary hearing no one stood by me. They all ran like scared rabbits. But it doesn’t matter—the Master stood by me and helped me spread the Message loud and clear to those who had never heard it. I was snatched from the jaws of the lion! God’s looking after me, keeping me safe in the kingdom of heaven. All praise to him, praise forever! Oh, yes!
19-20 Say hello to Priscilla and Aquila; also, the family of Onesiphorus. Erastus stayed behind in Corinth. I had to leave Trophimus sick in Miletus.
21 Try hard to get here before winter.
Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all your friends here send greetings.
22 God be with you. Grace be with you.
WHAT WILL BE OUR FINAL WORDS?
We’ll know when we know because of Jesus in us. I pray that my final instructions to my children will be as powerful and significant as my mom’s message was to me, as Paul’s message was to Timothy, so they will know Whom I have believed all of my life. That is the only message that matters!
For now, soak in the words of Paul, “Don’t ever quit. Just keep it, (the Message) simple.”
You teach us so well each day. That’s why I love this time we have together each morning! You help me remember my mentors and their messages and weave their testimonies into my life with You. Thank you for continually transforming my life to be all you created me to be. I’m still not there yet, but you are drawing me closer each day. Thank you, Lord. Thank you for words of wisdom we gleam from our mentors. Help us to be teachable, seeking mentors for ourselves, as we mentor others. Help us to pass on what we know about you! You are all that matters. You are eternal life!
In Jesus Name, For Your glory, Amen! Yes!