Impacting Cities & Communities thru Prayer
A Community of Prayer Champions, Praying Churches, Prayed-for Communities
In 2 Timothy Paul gives us a marvelous example of integral hope in his life. Paul's life even at that difficult end was still buoyed by a higher purpose. 2 Timothy 4:1,2 reads,
“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.”
Paul challenges Timothy, and us, to preach the word. And faithful endurance in his painful situation was crucial to that encouragement. He saw his approaching death as part of his challenge and a crucial part of his worship. He encourages us in versus 6-8 by comparing his life to a drink offering.
“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.”
A drink offering was a powerful expression of devotion in the desert middle east where water is life. The first drink offering mentioned in Scripture was made by Jacob as he met God at Bethel in Genesis 35. As he emptied his canteen onto the ground, he was trusting his life to the Lord who had appeared to him. Later when drink offerings were included in worship in the Tabernacle the vessels for it were to be of gold, befitting costly devotion.
Paul sees his final circumstance as the ultimate worship and witness for God. And he could endure it however long it would last for two reasons. First, as he wrote earlier to the Philippian Church, (Philippians 1:22-24) God might still allow him to continue his purpose on this Earth. And, he knew the reward waiting for him in the presence of God was worth whatever he had to endure.
I have terminal cancer, and I don’t know how long I will live. I believe God has called me to write. It is an extension of my call to preach. And I want to write everything He leads me to write. But I also need to see what I may not be able to complete as a drink offering. If it is God's will for me not to live long enough to finish books that I am writing, I pour them out to Him in worship.
There are other things that I put in this category. I no longer have the strength or energy to Pastor a church. And I offer that loss in worship to God. I have also had a vision of prayer in the church like we have never prayed. Well, even the small platform that I had has diminished. And I don't see God allowing me to promote this. I had an idea for a prayer retreat center with prayer rooms devoted to prayer for every people group on Earth. Everyone coming to the center would be encouraged to spend at least an hour a day in one of the prayer rooms. Of course I do not know if this is the will of God at all, although the Scripture calls us to radical prayer. But even if this is God's will it does not look like I will get to be part of bringing it about. And I pour this out as a drink offering before God.
So whether I eat or drink(1 Cor. 10:31) or write or pray, I want to pour these things out as a drink offering to God.