Pastor Don's Journal Articles
Fellow GuideStone trustee Michael Rochelle has drawn my attention to a familiar text of scripture, but with fresh insight. In 2 Timothy 4: 9-13, Paul is asking Timothy to come to Rome where he is in prison and to bring some things that he needs. There is urgency in his request, because the apostle is convinced that he doesn't have too much longer to live. He asks for his cloak, his books, his parchments, and more.
Even that late in the game Paul still had needs and was bold and humble enough to state them. I find that the things he asked for represent the same needs I have in my own life and, although death is not on my immediate horizon (as far as I know), I should be open enough to mention them to you.
1. When Paul asks for the cloak he had left behind in Troas, he is talking about physical needs. Taking care of the body. And of course we are to give attention to proper diet, exercise and rest. Healthy habits that keep the body able to function effectively in ministry. Audrey reminds me constantly that I need to take better care of myself, for her and for my son, and for the people that I pastor at First Baptist. She thinks that I am indispensable.
2. The books he asks for lets me know that the aged apostle still craved the intellectual stimulation of good literature. He wanted to keep his mind engaged in a conversation with great minds that had gone before him or who were his contemporaries. So, whether on my Kindle, iPad or actual volume with ink and paper (how quaint) in my lap, I need to read something daily to keep my mind fresh. There's usually a novel, a new book of compelling short stories, poetry, history or biography piled up together on my nightstand.
3. I think the parchments Paul requests were the holy writings of what Bible there was back then, the Old Testament. He knew that that is how God would speak to him, along with the inspiration of the Spirit, so, even though surely he had mastered those texts years before, he still heard something new every time he unrolled them again. We today have all 66 books of the Bible, the complete revelation of God. And this is still the primary way He communicates with us. I need the Bible much more than any other book on my shelf because, if I will let it into my heart and deep into my soul, it will keep on transforming me until the day that I die.
4. As much as any of these objects, Paul is asking for Timothy to come to see him. "Do your best to come to me quickly", he almost pleads. We are social beings who need to be in relationship with other human beings. We need close friends to be the cream in the coffee that makes life sweeter and richer. Even a basically shy, introvert like me needs to have people who love and care about him, and with whom I can share all my joys and sorrows, fears and victories.
Paul wanted him to come “before winter" because once that frigid season set in there would be little chance for a successful journey. Come now, or you won't be able to for several months. And, more likely, Paul didn't think he’d be around much past winter. Come now, or the next time I'll see you will have to be in heaven. Friendships must be developed now, and the encouraging that we can do for one another by just "showing up" must be shared in this moment. Today is really the only day we know that we have.
These are all things that should be important to each of us, regardless of our age. But more, not less, as the years roll on.
Well, I told you that I have finally joined FaceBook (maybe the last person in America to do so). As of today I am also going onto Twitter. I can hardly believe it myself, but I am starting to shoot out my random thoughts and snippets of encouragement in brief bursts of inspiration. If you'd like to follow me on Twitter, I'm at RevDonDavidson.
And I promise, I won't be announcing every time I go to the bathroom or every inane thought that pops through my head. I am a communicator, after all, and I need to do it in every new way that I can.
Looking forward to seeing you this Sunday at church--- in the flesh.