For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.
(2 Timothy 4:6 NASB)
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;
(2 Timothy 4:7 NASB)
Make every effort to come to me soon;
(2 Timothy 4:9 NASB)
Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service.
(2 Timothy 4:11 NASB)



Paul is now facing death in Rome and is writing his final letter to his dear disciple, Timothy. He wants Timothy to come and join him while he awaits what he knows will be his final days here on this earth. Interestingly he wants Timothy to stop by and pick up Mark and bring him along. This is the very same Mark over whom Paul and Barnabas had such a bitter dispute many years before resulting in the two of them going separate directions in their ministry. Paul had been frustrated with the young Mark because he felt that he had been irresponsible. But now, in writing he tells Timothy that he wants to see Mark and that Mark is useful to him. Not only is this an acceptance of Mark, but an affirmation of Mark and a willingness on Paul's part to reconcile his relationship with him.



She sat on the back pew of the church with her head down most of the service. She looked tired and worn out, at least ten years older than her actual age. About ten feet from her, on the same pew was a beautiful young woman, tall and slender with flowing dark hard and brilliant blue eyes. At the end of the service the older woman raised her hand that she wanted to accept Christ into her life. In conversation later she shared that she had given up everything in life, including her relationship with Christ and with her children for what she thought was the love of a man. Of course he had turned out to be less than loving, and more taking than anything. Now she found herself at a complete and total loss. She had nothing. No children. No man. No Savior. Weeping she poured her heart to God, asking for his forgiveness and desiring to put her life back on track. She mentioned to me the loss of relationship with her children, and then pointed out that the beautiful woman on the other end of the pew was her daughter. They hadn't spoken in years.

Our world is filled with broken relationships. Yes, we have those who disappoint us in life and we may become frustrated. Even the Apostle Paul became so frustrated that he and his dear friend went different directions. But I believe that Paul mellowed with age, and I believe that Mark matured with age. Here, near the end of Paul's life, Paul wants to mend his relationship with Mark. It is Paul who is willing to go out of his way and ask Timothy to please bring Mark to him. He even compliments Mark -- in writing. It takes a big person to do that -- be willing to reach out and be affirming after having been a bit obnoxious in trying to prove who was "right" so long ago. Paul had been on a spiritual journey throughout his entire life where God had been transforming him into the very likeness of Jesus Christ. Paul acknowledged this along the way, and now, before his death, we see the love of Jesus reflected in him. We may have broken relationships and we may be embarrassed about the way we acted somewhere along the way. The question is whether we are allowing God to transform us to the point where we are willing to reach out to the individual with whom we may not have a relationship and ask for forgiveness and allow for healing. I don't think that Paul wanted to die with things still rough between he and Mark. He reached out to him. We may need to reach out to someone.

About an hour after the church service ended, the lady came and motioned for me to join her in the hallway. Again there were more tears as she gave me a giant bear hug. "I just talked to me daughter and I asked her for forgiveness." It was the first step in a process of healing and reconciliation. That day she had set things right with God, and then began the long journey home to a relationship with her daughter. Reconciliation is not an easy thing. It takes putting our egos aside and allowing God to speak in and through us, and reaching out, allowing God to pour out his oil of healing on old wounds.



Lord, may I be an instrument of reconciliation. Amen.


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