Good morning and welcome to Monday. It’s Easter Monday… a bank holiday, yay!!
We are entering into our 4th week of lock down. I pray that we are finding moments to pause in God’s presence and to be thankful for those you live with or connect with regularly.
Today’s passage is 2 Timothy chapter 4 v 9-22. It contains Paul’s closing remarks, his greetings and a list of names which are tricky to pronounce (Listen to the end of this reflection to see how I get on!) But right at the start of the list are these verses… verses 9-10,
Do your best to come to me quickly, for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica.
Today is the day after Easter day… The day after Jesus rose from the dead and swung open the gates to his kingdom and invited us all in. So, having been won at a price, how do we stay on track?
Well, there is a little warning for us in today’s verse:
“… because he loved this world…”
You see Demas got lured away from Jesus… he got enticed, intoxicated by the distractions of the world, all its delights and pleasures, its power and prestige… and he deserted Paul…
Now, is it possible for us, as believers, to take the same journey, down the same path… and dare I say it… turn our backs on Jesus and his kingdom and become deserters like Demas?
Once, before Helen and I were married, when we were just getting to know each other… I went to America. I was away for over a month and I had missed my girl! I managed to get on an early flight and arrived back home while Helen was at work. I spent the day catching up on sleep and then, at the end of the working day, I went down to the local station to meet Helen from the train.
It was London… it was rush hour… and although it was only a small station it was busy… I watched and I waited… I looked past the men in suits, the female executives, the kids getting back from school… I barely noticed them… I only had one person on my mind… and then I saw her…
24 years later, when I wake in the morning, I roll over and see her sleeping peacefully. I still feel that same love, I still delight in her.
The love that we first had for Jesus, when we were first getting to know him… that’s the love that we need to keep alive. Do you still feel it?
The world is a pretty awesome place. The sights, the sounds, the smells… the joys, delights and comforts.
But the world is not the same as God’s Kingdom… and it will draw us away.
It was made by God but is ruled by the prince of this dark world… It is not shaped to bring us closer to God… in fact it’s pull is in entirely the opposite direction.
We have been rescued from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves… (Colossians 1:13) But we still have to be on our guard. We have to engage in the ongoing fight, it is a battle that will last our lifetimes, it is a battle against ourselves and a war that we can only win with Jesus as our commanding officer.
I know that this time of lock down is a huge opportunity to go deeper with God, but… I love a Sudoku! I love a puzzle to solve and that often seems like the more attractive option. Or social media, I’ll just take a quick flick through Facebook… I wouldn’t want to miss out on anything that’s going on… and suddenly my time can leak away.
and there is so much out there… even Christian stuff: online services, podcasts, sermons, books, articles, YouTube clips, Instagram stories, Facebook posts… that’s before I turn on the TV: Netflix, Disney+, Amazon, iPlayer…
Lockdown is an awesome opportunity to spot Jesus’ face in the crowd. This is an opportunity to allow our isolation from the world to rekindle our passion for Jesus. To slow down. To step out of the usual frantic routine. Switch off… to breathe deep… to drink deep from the well.
We are cut off from the world. We cannot go out. In this time let’s be mindful of what of the world we are letting into our homes through our various screens and remember to seek first his kingdom… this is an opportunity, like no other, to fall in love again with our first love, the lover of our souls… the one who gave it all for us.
Father, help us to recognise the battle we face every moment of every day, against the world, the flesh and the devil. Help us to put down, switch off and distance ourselves from the distractions to find ourselves in your perfect presence. Reveal to us again your face in the crowd, help us to delight in you, to watch for you, free from distraction. Let us fall in love with you all over again. Amen.
BIBLE READING: 2 Timothy 4: 9-22
Do your best to come to me quickly, for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry. I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.
Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.
At my first defence, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Greet Priscilla and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus. Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus ill in Miletus. Do your best to get here before winter. Eubulus greets you, and so do Pudens, Linus, Claudia and all the brothers and sisters.
The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you all.