Famous Last Words

William C. Brownson

READ : 2 Timothy 4:6-8

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day. (vv. 7-8)

Paul seems sure that he is about to die. His life will soon be “poured out” as an offering, “loosed from its moorings” for a voyage. Without fear and with no regrets, he now looks back over his thirty years of apostolic ministry. For the sake of Christ, he has fought “the good fight” against great opposition, always pressing the conflict, never backing down. He has “finished the race” set before him—what he had always aspired to do (Acts 20:24). He has fulfilled his ministry. He has “kept the faith”—guarded the sacred trust of the gospel, lived by it, and preached it boldly to the end.

He is looking beyond death now, scarcely taking it into account. The only thing he sees is the Lord, risen and reigning, one day giving him a crown. In the deepest sense, Paul is “ready to go.”

This witness, remember, is being sent to Timothy. Before the letter is received, Paul could well be “at home with the Lord.” These “last words” are the strongest possible challenge for Timothy (and for us) to fight on, finish the race, and keep the faith.

PRAYER

Lord, let it be so!