A COAT, A BOOK AND A FRIEND Today’s readings are Amos 1-3, Psalm 80, and II Timothy 4.
A COAT, A BOOK AND A FRIEND
Today’s readings are Amos 1-3, Psalm 80, and II Timothy 4. We are reading from the New Living Translation.
Paul is still fighting the good fight. He’s running the race well. He’s rounding the last corner. and nearing the finish line. In these last requests that he expresses at the end of this letter, we are being offered some wisdom – some advice, from a man that has run the race so well. Paul asks for a coat, a book, and a friend. These are the needs of a man that has run the race very well. He’s poured out his life for the sake of Christ. And the things that he desires at this moment are a coat, a book,and a friend.
These are the things that we need to run well. We need a coat because we live in a world where it often gets cold. It’s harsh, bitter, and broken. We need a coat to keep us warm, to get us through, to encourage, and cover us. This is what we see Christ offering us in a cold, broken world. He has come to bring warmth to our life – to revive us, and cover us. Gal 3:27 says, And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. We’re told to clothes ourselves with Christ – to put Him on like a coat. He’s the only one who can break the chill and keep us warm.
Paul also asks Timothy to make sure he brings the book – the letters- when he comes. If we want to run this race well to the very end, like Paul, we are going to need the Book, the Letters – God’s Word – his constant encouragement and instruction, to help us run well.
Finally, Paul asks for a friend. He asks for his friend, John Mark. We need friends. That’s what the church is all about. It’s a place where we can become friends with each other. It’s a place where we learn to live life together. We learn to overcome life’s struggles together, even when we struggle with each other. Paul and John Mark had struggled with each other. In fact, at one point they had to go their separate ways. They couldn’t travel with each other because of a strong disagreement. But here we see what the Gospel does in the life of someone who has run the race well. The Gospel has the power to reconcile friends, to bring us back together. We see that Paul needs his friend, John Mark. And we need each other. We need the community that being part of the Church forces upon us. In that community we learn to lay down our lives for each other, to serve and honor one another. We absolutely need friends.
Paul needed a coat, and a book, and a friend. These are tools we all need to run this race well, to fight the good fight. Wear your coat, pick up the Book, and make a friend.
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