"When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments." 2 Tim 4:13
I'm encouraged by this seasoned servant leader, as he suffered for Christ and was about to face death, Paul still desired to learn and grow. One of the key values Paul, as well as most seasoned servant leaders of Christ throughout history, has is the inner desire to always keep on learning and growing in Christ. What books is the Holy Spirit bringing to you to read, study and discuss? What issues are you wrestling with that our culture is attacking? Who are you inviting to learn together with?
I'm also encouraged by Paul's adapting to the radical change in his circumstances. We see the lesson learned from the fisherman. When a storm hits, instead of fishing, they mend nets. When Paul was hit with a storm causing him to no longer plant churches and preach the Gospel of Jesus, he adapted by studying and writing. When storms come and prevent you from doing what God has called you to do, how do you follow the Holy Spirit's lead to adapt and continue to make an impact for Jesus? How are you always sharing the Gospel of Jesus with everyone, even though our culture seeks to repress this?
I'm especially encouraged by Paul's commitment to God's Word. "Please bring my cloak, books and especially the parchment." Biblical scholars debate whether these books and parchment is OT scrolls or paper with Paul's notes or paper for Paul's letters which become the NT. Regardless what the books and parchment were specifically, we can see that they represent God's Word. How important is it for us to read God's Word? We live in a day and age when our culture, influenced and lead by the Prince of this World (the evil one), challenges and changes God's ways in every arena of life. Our culture, like every culture throughout history, is rewriting the values, the norms, the laws, and what is right and wrong. We need to be equipped, refreshed and renewed with God's Word daily, if not multiple times throughout the day. Do you have a reading plan of God's Word? How are you reading, studying, discussing and memorizing God's Word, the Sword of the Spirit?
Let's be encouraged by this humble, servant leader as he sat in a cold, prison cell, waiting to meet Jesus face-to-face. Can you feel the joy and hope that is bursting out of him in 2 Timothy 4? May that same steadfast joy and hope burst out of us in this day and age.
Praying that the God of Hope encourages you today,