THE LAST LETTER

Paul waited for Luke’s eyes to open from his nap. He raised a hand to wipe a tear from his eye.

Luke stirred and opened his eyes. “You really need to learned how to rattle those chains quieter, Paul.”

“Do we have any parchment and ink? I need you to compose a letter for me.”

Luke sat up. “Of course, if you make it on the short side we still have enough for a note. Let me get them for you.”

Paul watched Luke set up at the table.

Luke counted the sheets they had. “Is this going to a church or a person?”

“Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ. To Timothy, my son.”

Luke raised his eyebrows as he wrote. “You better make every word count. We don’t have that much parchment.”

Paul leaned forward. “I fully intend to, Doc.”

Luke dipped the quill. “This ink’s good. I’ll write small.”

“I remember you in my prayers night and day. I’m impressed with your faith. I know it was passed down from your grandmother, Lois, and your mother, Eunice. Stir up the God-given gift you received by the laying on of my hands. Be sure to pass along the truth of the gospel to capable men.

“Be ready to suffer persecution for Christ’s sake. Impostors will come in to deceive many who’ll love to hear what they long to hear. Remain true to the truth of God I passed on to you.”

Luke continued to keep pace with Paul’s heart cry. He reached the last sheet. “Time to bring this to a close. Paul.”

“Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Be watchful in everything, suffer afflictions, be an evangelist, complete your ministry. I am being poured out as a drink offering. I’m finishing the race, my fight is over. I’ve kept the faith. I’ll receive the crown of righteousness, as will all who love His appearing.

“Try to come before winter with the parchments and my cloak I left with Carpus in Troas. The Lord Jesus Christ be with you, my son. Amen.”

Luke tipped the ink well to finish the last word. “We had just enough of everything we needed to complete this task.”

The door to the room burst open. A squad of soldiers filed in. “The Emperor wishes to see you.”

Paul stood.

Luke’s knees wouldn’t obey him. He looked at his friend. “I’ll see this is delivered personally.”

Paul nodded. “Thank you, Doc.” He strode to the door. “Take me home, boys.”

A soldier grunted. “I don’t know where he thinks he’s going. He’s had his last meal.”

Luke watched Paul walk out. “He knows that. He meant what he said.”

****

If you knew this was the last hour you had to breathe air in this atmosphere what would you do?

Would you make a phone call? Perhaps an email you’ve been putting off needs your attention. Maybe you merely need to walk over and say the words, “I’m sorry.” Followed by a hug.

The letter we know as 2 Timothy was the Apostle Paul’s response to that question. We’re all the richer because he didn’t put off writing that note.

Paul poured a lot of himself into Timothy’s life to the point of calling him “son.” In return Timothy loved Paul to the point of being in tears when they parted ways.

Have you done that with a younger person?

If you have children I pray your answer is in the positive. God’s gifts are given to us for many reasons. Pouring our love and affection into them is one of the main ones. Living in close proximity should make it easy to hand down your values and the reasons you do what you do.

They may rebel and do their own thing despite your best efforts. Paul had many others who left him when things looked grim in his life. Perhaps that’s one reason he was drawn to ask for Timothy’s presence near the end.

You’re responsible to do your part. You can’t control how others live their life.

Here’s a suggestion for you. Live your life like the country song says: live like you was dying. Because you are.

None of us knows when we’ll take our last breath. We don’t know if the next time we enter the road to get to work if someone else’s mistake will cost us our life. So, live like you’ll never see your loved ones again.

Let them know you love them. Don’t leave them guessing. Say the words: “I love you.”

They may not return the sentiment, but they’ll know how you feel. Leave that taste in their mouth when they think of you.

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Paul gave Timothy a list of people for him to avoid, and some to include. One name stands out to me.

Paul requested Mark accompany him to Rome because, “he is useful to me for ministry.”

John Mark and Paul had a history that was shaky at one point. It was so bad that Paul refused to include Mark on one of his trips since Mark deserted him at a critical moment.

The two men obviously came back in contact with each other and made amends. Paul’s second chance wasn’t wasted. The composer of the second gospel account made the most of the opportunity.

If some time has passed since you were hurt by someone, and there are signs of a change, give them another opportunity to prove themselves to you. The pay-off will likely benefit both of you.

Practice the words “I’m sorry,” and “Let’s start over,” so the next time you see that person they flow from your heart.

Life’s too short to be on a list of people to avoid.

Do your best to be someone requested as one who is useful.

You never know when it will be your last chance to have a second chance.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

I'm a truck driver turned writer. My writing drives people to Jesus.
I love sunsets/sunrises, dark chocolate, coffee, cats and dogs (as long as their owners pick up after them) and solitude. My relationship with God through Jesus Christ is most important to me, not a religion. This writing gig is all God's idea. I only wish to bring more attention to Jesus with it.