Second Timothy is most likely the last letter Paul wrote and it is filled with emotion as he writes to his beloved “child” Timothy. I definitely cried a little reading Paul’s last letter having fallen in love with him from studying the rest of his letters.
He most likely wrote the letter in Rome while imprisoned under the emperor Nero’s persecution of the Christians from about 64-68 AD.
Like in his first letter to Timothy, Paul encourages him to remember the gift for teaching that was inside of him. Timothy had probably been facing many setbacks as people refused to listen to the truth. Can you imagine questioning the situation God has called you to when you see so little progress? But Paul encourages Timothy to continue:
For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:6,7
Timothy was not to look at his circumstances to determine whether or not he would move forward in his calling, but rather remember that the Holy Spirit was in him, and he was called by God, and continue on despite persecution:
Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God.
2 Timothy 1:8
Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.
2 Timothy 1:14
No matter what, Timothy was to follow Paul’s example and dedicate his life to whatever he was called to, keeping the eternal perspective in mind:
Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, so that they may also obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
2 Timothy 2:10
As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come.
2 Timothy 4:6
This letter is so inspiring! If you ever need a reminder as to why you’re doing what you’re doing (assuming you’re in the will of God), then read 2 Timothy.
Even though we’re not all apostles like Paul, God is still working for those called into business or into whatever other vocation He’s placed you in. There is value in everybody’s line of work, which makes it all the more important to persevere and rely fully on God when the circumstances look bleak.
Paul endured so much for the sake of his calling, which was to spread the gospel and make disciples. But at the end of his life, there seemed to be little hope for the gospel moving forward as certain faithful people had ditched him (not to mention the fact that Paul himself was in prison):
You are aware that all who are in Asia have turned away from me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes.
2 Timothy 1:15
Do your best to come to me soon, for Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica…
2 Timothy 4:9,10
But there is always hope. The truth is always released. God is never stopped. No matter what kind of blockage or setbacks you are experiencing in following God, He is always working for you and is always more powerful than countering forces. Perseverance is the key ingredient.
Consider William Wilberforce who pursued the abolition of slavery in England. The majority seemed to oppose him for decades despite his devotion to the cause. The situation seemed desperate and hopeless. And yet, because God was with him, the law banishing slavery was eventually passed, but this came one year after Wilberforce had died!
Paul never focused on his negative circumstances and wondered where God was. He never looked at the fruit of his ministry and wondered what difference he was making. He knew that God was with him always. He knew that as long as God called him to wherever he was, the truth was going forth.
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead…that is my gospel, for which I suffer hardship, even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained.
2 Timothy 2:9,10
What persecutions I endured! Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them.
2 Timothy 3:11,12
At my first defense no one came to my support, but all deserted me. May it not be counted against them! But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength.
2 Timothy 4:16,17
Paul was an incredible man with a deeply established trust in God. This trust made him immovable. This kind of trust is the kind of trust that keeps us moving forward with God, not looking at the circumstances, but instead looking at God and looking forward to what’s head for those who persevere:
You then, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 2:1
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
2 Timothy 4:7,8