“Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.”
~ 2 Timothy 4:2
Hi James and Ellen,
If you knew that you are writing the last letter that you will ever send to a very special guy or gal friend, what would you really want to try to convey in this letter to this special guy or gal friend? Paul had been for thirty years running the missionary race. Paul knew that the missionary race that he had been running was coming to the finish line. Paul knew that he had fought the good missionary fight. Because Paul knew that he had kept the faith – which was to maintain an unalterable belief that Jesus had sacrificed His life on a crude cross for his sins, Paul knew that he was a race and a fight winner. 2 Timothy 4 is the very last chapter of the very last letter that Paul would write and send to a guy or Christ-follower community. Because Paul in a way thought of Timothy as being his own son, Paul was really hoping that he would get the opportunity to be able to see Timothy one more time. Timothy at this time was in Ephesus overseeing the elders who had the spiritual oversight over the different Christ-follower communities that were in Ephesus. Because Paul was stuck in a damp dungeon in Rome, Paul asked in this letter to Timothy that Timothy bring to him the cloak that he had left with Carpus in Troas. Paul also asked Timothy in this last letter that he sent to him that when Timothy came to Rome that he would like to have Timothy take with him his parchments and scrolls. Your grandpaa thinks that Timothy did not get the chance to see his mentor Paul again. Your grandpaa thinks that Nero – who was a really, really bad dude, executed Paul not long after Paul sent this letter to Timothy.
Paul used this last letter that he would write to Timothy to give a charge. A charge is a trust or responsibility that someone gives to someone else. What would be a charge that your dad and/or ma might give to you? Your dad might give you the charge of taking out the garbage every day. Your ma might give you the charge of putting away all your toys every day. The charge that Paul gave to Timothy is found in verse 2, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.” When your grandpaa was unexpectedly asked to preach one Sunday morning in Chochís, Bolivia, your grandpaa found out what this verse means to be prepared always in season and out of season. Chochís is a town that is situated alongside the railroad tracks that run between Santa Cruz, Bolivia and the Brazilian frontier. It would usually take your grandpaa about eighteen hours to make the train trip from Santa Cruz to Chochís on a train called the rápido. A year or so after your grandmaa and grandpaa arrived in Bolivia in August of 1978, the South America Mission Field Director asked all the guys who were on the church planting team that your grandpaa was on to take on a minor allocation. Your grandpaa’s minor allocation was to make regular trips down the railroad line to Chochís to spend a couple of days to almost a week at times visiting the Chochís Christ-follower community. Your grandpaa would make a trip to Chochís about every six weeks. Your grandpaa really liked going to Chochís. Each time that your grandpaa went to Chochís, your grandpaa would take another guy with him. Your grandpaa would oftentimes take a film that he would show. Your grandpaa would always take with him Bible studies called Fuente de Luz for the guys and gals who were members of the Chochís Christ-follower community who wanted to do Bible studies. If the rápido did not derail someplace during the trip, your grandpaa would usually arrive in Chochís about three or four o’clock in the morning. If your grandpaa arrived in Chochís sometime during the night, your grandpaa would knock open one of side windows in the Christ-follower community church building that is in Chochís, crawl through the window, put together facing each other two of the church’s wooden benches, blow up his air mattress, lay out the air mattress on the two benches that are facing each other, roll out his sleeping bag on the air mattress and your grandpaa would crash.
A year or so later and before James Davids – the Bolivia South America Mission Field Director, was to go to the United States on a yearlong furlough break, James Davids went with your grandpaa to Chochís. Your grandpaa was happy that James Davids wanted to make the train trip with him to Chochís. Because James Davids and your grandpaa were going to be in Chochís over a Sunday, your grandpaa thought that it would be good if James Davids spoke that Sunday morning. James Davids seemed fine with speaking that Sunday morning. James Davids had spoken several times at the El Pari Church – which is the church that your grandpaa helped to start in Santa Cruz. James Davids spoke Spanish very well and he was an interesting speaker. Right before James Davids was to begin to speak, James Davids leaned over to your grandpaa and said to your grandpaa in a whisper ‘I do not know what happened but I have lost my voice’. James Davids asked your grandpaa if your grandpaa would speak instead of him. Your grandpaa had not planned on doing any speaking that Sunday morning. The Christ-follower community in Chochis was also planning on having the Lord’s Supper that Sunday morning. Your grandpaa asked the guy who was leading the Sunday morning service if he would lead another song and . . . your grandpaa could barely say or do anything that Sunday morning in Chochís. Just as the service ended, James Davids leaned over to your grandpaa again and said ‘I do not know what happened but it has to be a miracle; I have my voice back’. Your grandpaa had James Davids trick him that Sunday morning to speak to the Chochís Christ-follower community. Now whenever your grandpaa goes to or is someplace, your grandpaa is always thinking about what he might teach if he is asked.
2 Timothy 4 (210)