The Apostle Paul writes a letter of encouragement from prison in Rome to his beloved son in the faith. Words we might hear afresh today in light of our current pandemic.
In his letter, Paul addresses living courageously in dangerous times. The Apostle addresses “the spirit of fear” or “timidity” depending on your translation. As followers of Christ we are called to live with wisdom, to be responsible, and to be thoughtful. We do not hoard (store up treasures on earth where moth and rust corrupts), we do our best to not spread a contagious virus by following the recommendations of experts in the medical profession, and we remember our neighbor.
In times like this we must be The Church. This is our opportunity to elevate the Light of Christ so that it shines brightly in the communities in which he has placed us. The Story of Easter (which will be upon us in just a few weeks) is that death does not have the final word. Those around us will learn from our witness.
I would encourage you to read these words today as if you were hearing them like young Timothy (albeit in a slightly different context). Please believe, your pastors are praying for you. Be wise, be responsible, and be thoughtful. Take care of yourself. Use this time to love on friends and family and to spend some time in prayer.
2 Timothy 1 New International Version (NIV)
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, in keeping with the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus,
To Timothy, my dear son:
Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
Appeal for Loyalty to Paul and the Gospel
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.