2 Timothy 4:9-22:
Make every effort to come to me soon; for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service. But Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. When you come bring the cloak which I left at Troas with Carpus, and the books, especially the parchments. Alexander the copper smith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Be on guard against him yourself, for he vigorously opposed our teaching.
At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. Erastus remained at Corinth, but Trophimus I left sick at Miletus. Make every effort to come before winter. Eubulus greets you, also Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brethren.
The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.
The thing that caught my attention in this passage is verse 13 – bring my cloak and my books. It is testament that even in the Bible the practical can be seen but there is a lesson in this entire passage that should be noted. This is the whole discussion in this passage on stuff te rest is about people. Paul is near the end of his life, these being his last penned words before his death, is thinking more of people than things. There is concern to bring and use things he needs but it is the people who occupy his spiritual attention.
There is an old axiom that basically says this “Love People, Use Things”. In many respects the principle I have already talked about in this series ‘Putting People First’. My thoughts here though center on what is the proper use of things inside the church.
First we have to define what we are talking about because things are more than just physical stuff. We are talking about all the things from philosophy, politics, ideas and all the rest are considered things and the one thing they all have in common is that they are temporary. The eternal thing in the church is the people. The temporal must always give way to the needs of the eternal.
That is why no thing should ever take precedence over people. It is why political discussions should be avoided. Ideas should be tried but not died for. Things should always be considered replaceable or altered. In the end, God will not reward us for the stuff we possess but the lives we touched as a church.