Today’s Reading: 2 Timothy 4:1-22
Did you hear about the three guys discussing their obituaries? One asked, “What would you like folk to say at your wake?” One of his buddies thought for minute, “I’d like them to say ‘He was a great humanitarian who cared about his community.’” The fellow who had initiated the conversation replied, “I’d like them to say ‘He was a great husband and father who was an example for many to follow.’” The two nodded in agreement and looked to the silent buddy. Without hesitation he added, “I’d like them to say ‘Look, he’s moving!’”
Our text was penned by a man who knew his days were numbered. This kind of confidence in the face of death doesn’t happen by accident. Paul looks death in the face and says, “I am ready.” Note the two illustrations he uses to describe his attitude toward what he is facing.
“For I am already being poured out like a drink offering..” A drink offering was a type of sacrifice. Both Old Testament Jews and their pagan counterparts were familiar with drink offerings. A worshiper would approach the altar of hot coals with a goblet of wine. As a prayer or special vow was spoken the wine would be poured on the coals. The wine instantly evaporated giving off a cloud of smoke and a sweet rich fragrance. Paul’s executors might think they were taking Paul’s life, but he viewed his death as an offering he was giving to God.
He also calls his death a departure. That too pictured a concept common to his readers. This was the word for unyoking an animal from the shafts of the cart or the plow. Death marked a rest from labor. This was also the term for loosening bonds or chains. Death would mean release for Paul. He would be promoted from a Roman prison to a heaven palace. The Greeks also used the term for striking a tent. Life in this world was temporary. It was to pull the tent pegs and pack the gear and move on. It is the same word for loosening the moorings of a ship so it could set sail. Paul was ready to set sail for home.