Today’s passage is part of a letter Apostle Paul wrote towards the end of his life. He reflects on the brevity of life (James 4:14), emphasizing the importance of making an impact that goes beyond material wealth or worldly success. True success is progressing the history of redemption. Whenever our end may be, the legacy we will eventually leave behind starts with our lives today. Therefore, we need to seriously reflect if we were to continue living the way we are doing right now, will it produce the desired outcome God desires? If not, we need to think about what changes need to be made today in order to leave what is meaningful in the eyes of God.
In today’s passage, we see the examples of 3 people:
1. Apostle Paul
Here, apostle Paul summarizes the focus and purpose of his life, which is fulfilling his ministry (1 Timothy 4:5). Our ministry is God’s work given to all who believe in Jesus Christ. Apostle Paul lived his entire life being conscious that he would one day stand before God and be judged for his deeds. He considered Jesus’ final command to reach the ends of the earth for the gospel as his life purpose, & the importance of saving a single soul as life and death. Therefore, he went about proclaiming the gospel tirelessly, enlarging and pushing the boundaries to reach whole new groups of believers for Jesus. In so doing, he went through much suffering, affliction & persecution.
Do we take Jesus’ command seriously, for it to take precedence? If our hope is in heaven, we need to leave an imprint here on earth that impacts the progress of the History of Redemption. This is the kind of legacy that will make us truly successful in the eyes of God. May we all be like Apostle Paul, living each day prioritizing & doing our part to fulfil God’s work!
Demas is portrayed as someone who initially participated in evangelism but later abandoned it for the comforts of the world. He represents those who prioritize worldly pleasures and convenience over spiritual commitment and sacrifice.
Luke a medical doctor is praised for his commitment to God’s work alongside Apostle Paul. He chose to stay dedicated to the ministry, even though he could have pursued a successful career in the world. Luke’s contributions to the bible through the gospel of Luke & the book of Acts are his lasting legacy.
In conclusion, there are 4 kinds of Christians:
• Those without the Word & Prayer
These go to church but are not interested in bible study, do not read the bible and do not pray. They may say grace before eating, but do not have a deep personal relationship with God (1 Timothy 4:5). We are sanctified and become holy through Word and prayer, and without them, we are no different from non-Christians.
• Those with the Word but no Prayer
These love the knowledge of the Word, listening to sermons and Bible studies. They can recite bible verses and can even teach. They only deliver knowledge as without prayer, the Holy Spirit cannot work through them with power.
• Christians with Prayer but no Word
These pray daily but are not interested in learning the Word. God gives answers to prayers through the Word of God. If you don’t have the Word of God, you cannot receive the Holy Spirit.
• Those who have the Word and Prayer
These are the type of people we must be. These are those with a balanced relationship and intimate closeness with God (Hebrews 4:12). God gives special wisdom and understanding to such people. Their lives attract others towards God and they teach with power. They are true vessels for God’s work (James 4:6).
Let us reflect and pray on what we want to leave behind at the end of our lives. May we become true Christians. Even if we have lived decades the wrong way, may we take the opportunity today to begin a new life of faith where the Word of God and prayer are balanced.