Chaplain’s Corner: CLVII

“Come Before Winter”

“Do your best Timothy to come before winter.” (2 Timothy 4:21) In this scripture from 2 Timothy, St. Paul feels time is slipping away. His hourglass is running out. He is imprisoned in Rome and will soon be executed. He grabbed his writing quill and penned what would be his last letter to his protégé Timothy whom he had left in charge of the far away church in Ephesus in Turkey. Paul is saying, “It’s cold here in this prison! Bring me my coat and my books. Timothy, I’m lonely…come to me. I need you here at my side.”

There is a sense of urgency in Paul’s words. On the Mediterranean when winter came, sailing and navigation were shut down. It was dangerous to be out there sailing in winter storms. Don’t wait! The time of departure is at hand.

I am sure many of you have had a time in your family when a relative was gravely ill and you picked up the phone and said, “It’s time to come…come now!” That’s what Paul is saying here, “Timothy…come now it’s now or never.” Sometimes acting quickly is literally a matter of life or death. In the movie “Titanic” what doomed the ship was a total lack of urgency. The crew did not even bring a pair of binoculars on board for the crow’s nest which a Senate investigation later discovered would have saved all 2,200 passengers.

God sends golden opportunities that we can either seize in faith or they slip through our fingers and are gone. Shakespeare has Brutus say in his play Julius Caesar, “There is a tide in the affairs of men which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; Omitted all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat and we must take the current when it serves.”

And so is life. There is that split second in the World Series where the batter has to swing or be called out on strikes. The moment when the stock broker staring at the computer screen either has to sell or buy. We all have good intentions to get serious about exercise or reading our daily devotional or going out of our way to speak to a new resident in the dining room.

Did Timothy drop everything he was important as it might have been and hurry to his spiritual Father? If so…did he go to Paul in time? We don’t know and we will never know because 2nd Timothy ends where it ends and we don’t know exactly how or where Paul’s life ended.

What is the point of “Come Before Winter?” When you need to do something …you need to do it now or it may never get done. Don’t wait, don’t put it off. Whether to bring a warm coat or a word of encouragement to a friend or to give a vital piece of advice only you can give.

Maybe you have a friend you have been meaning to contact. Their health has not been good but what they need is just a loving note from a friend..Come Before Winter. You know someone who has suffered from grief or depression for weeks or month. They need a friend. Come Before Winter.

Perhaps God is calling you to make a change in your life. Maybe Jesus Christ needs to come in and be your Lord and Savior. Maybe today that is what needs to happen because we don’t know what the next minute or hour or week or month holds.

We do not live alone..any of us. We all live with one another. God put us in community here with one another. If we live, we must live for one is God’s way. Someone is reaching out to you today. Don’t disappoint them–Come Before Winter!

Ron Naylor, Chaplain