by the Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven
In September we read Paul's letter to Titus and his very last letter, called 2 Timothy. Paul's concern is that the true gospel be preserved and proclaimed by a faithful church.
2 Timothy 4:6–8
For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure (2 Tim. 4:6).
Paul is passing the torch. This thought underlies the whole letter. But here it is spelled out in a few priceless sentences. In his death announcement, Paul shows remarkable realism, inner peace, and a sense of victory, all based on the faithfulness of the Lord he served.
Saying that he is about to die, Paul employs two figures of speech. "I am already being poured out like a drink offering." This refers to the custom of pouring wine or oil at the altar as an offering to God. It means Paul regards his imprisonment, leading to his death, as an offering. Whatever his enemies intend to accomplish by his violent death, for Paul it is the full surrender of the last drops as a sacrifice to his God.
The other figure of speech is this: "The time has come for my departure." Just as a vessel leaves port when its anchor is lifted, and as a tent is folded when the stay is completed, so Paul is ready to take his leave. And he knows where he is going! He speaks of death as an action to be performed rather than an event to be suffered.
We must learn to be equally sure when the time comes to lift the anchor. I hope the Lord will return before my death. But if he doesn't, you and I shall leave in the calm assurance that we will reach the other shore by the Savior's strength.
Andrew Kuyvenhoven's Daylight, a modern devotional classic, was originally published in 1994. This edition is copyright by Faith Alive Christian Resources, from whom may be ordered Daylight, the predecessor of Twilight.
A man of many accomplishments, Andrew Kuyvenhoven is probably best known for his contributions to Today (formerly The Family Altar), a widely-used monthly devotional booklet associated with the Back to God Hour. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations for this edition of Twilight are from the New International Version