Be diligent to come to me quickly; for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica—Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia.Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry.And Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come—and the books, especially the parchments.
Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works. You also must beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words.
At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them.
But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve mefor His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!
Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. Erastus stayed in Corinth, but Trophimus I have left in Miletus sick.
Do your utmost to come before winter.
Eubulus greets you, as well as Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brethren.
The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.
Leadership can be a lonely road sometimes… Perhaps one of the reasons why many do not stand-up to the challenge. A leader must gravitate towards the object of the call. Hence those that are called by God undergo a process of transformation even as they draw towards the One that has called. On this subject Paul wrote;
Follow me, as I follow Christ
This shows a chain of connectivity with Christ as his source and Paul (the leader) as the conduit. This of-course does not make him superior to his followers as we are called to serve one another, for the body functions to optimal capacity with each cell, tissue, and organ playing its role effectively – so also the church.
However this also poses a major problem as those closest to the leader are likely to run out of emotional and spiritual capital needed to respond to this pull as things get tougher, or as the heat increases. Little wonder why Paul mentioned his experience with Alexander and Demas, as he beckoned on Timothy to come before winter in my opening scripture.
The Rabbi Himself suffered doubt from his cousin John, evident as he sent his disciples to verify His messianic credentials. This is the same John that heralded;
Behold the lamb of John that takes away the sins of the world
Even Peter denied him thrice during His passion.
Friends I pray this morning for strength, determination and courage to withstand and overcome the opposing tides of our time. To stand-up and be counted when it matters most. To be a beacon of hope in a lost world. And to help reclaim the kingdom once again. So help us God. Amen.