Recap | Living in Light of Death

Paul is writing 2 Timothy from prison knowing that his death is imminent.  This weekend, as we discussed what it looks like to live in light of death, we turn to what Paul has to say in 2 Timothy 4:5-8. He begins by reminding Timothy that even in the face of suffering and death, he should live a purposeful life of ministry and evangelism.

In this passage, Paul reckons his coming death as “being poured out as a drink offering.” This metaphor is referring to an Old Testament sacrificial practice. Along with meat sacrifices, Jews would pour containers of wine at the base of the altar to signify the completion of the sacrifice. Paul is saying that his life has been a sacrifice for God’s mission, and God is using his life how God wants it to be used. His life has been laid down, but that sacrifice is what gives it significance. It can be hard to say, “Lord take my life and use it as you will,” but God has all the rights to all of our life. By embracing God’s will and being poured out, we become a part of something great and more worthy than all we could ever imagine.

In verse seven, Paul is measuring his life in worth by how well he has fulfilled the mission. He begins by saying he has “fought the good fight.” The Christian life is not a life of ease or comfort. It is a battle against sin and for God’s greater mission. We have to say no to our own desires and endure suffering. We must fight the tendency to look out for only our own interest. So it is a battle, but Paul assures us that it is a good and worthy fight.

Paul also says that he has “finished the race.” Like running, sometimes life feels like it is going exactly as planned, and sometimes it is a grind. Yet, this is not a race against other people, it is the unique course that God has laid out for your life. God has put a mission in front of each of his children, and he has given you the gifts and equipment necessary to best run that race. Your gifts are given specifically for you to serve and run the race set before you.

Finally, Paul says he has “kept the faith.” Despite the suffering and confusion, he stayed faithful and trusting. And in the face of death he knows that there is a reward, “the crown of righteousness,” awaiting him. This reward is not for any of the mission or ministry Paul did. It is not because he earned it. The righteousness Paul will receive was earned by Jesus. It is not for us to earn; it is only for us to be given. And by the grace of Jesus all who look forward to his appearing will receive the gift of righteousness.  Glory be to God!


For people in the first third of their life: It is very easy to feel invincible and ignore death. We must find focus and get set on the right trajectory now. As Psalm 90:12 says, “teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” We must find a way to realize we won’t live forever and learn to funnel our time and energy into things that are good and outside of ourselves. Part of this means choosing a career that can benefit others, and not just supply our own comfort. Another problem we often face in this time of life is being self-focused. Many of us are addicted to our phones and social media. Specifically, we are addicted to our image and ourselves, and our phones feed that obsession. Put down your phone and engage the world and mission in front of you.

For people in the middle third:
1. Take your children to funerals. It is part of your responsibility as a parent to expose your children to death and grief. Help them learn about their own mortality.
2. Take time to do mission. We are often so busy that we overlook opportunities to serve and love the people God has placed in our lives. Don’t let daily life distract you from your eternal mission.
3. Don’t relinquish the opportunity to take care of the younger and older generations.

For people in the final third: Remain engaged and reinvest in people. You have more wisdom, experience and resources than most people. Use that to pour into others.

-Carly Caldwell