Saturday, December 28, 2013

Marsha's Musings: People in Paul's Life (II Timothy 4:9-12, 14, 15, 19-21 NKJV)

Be diligent to come to me quickly; for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica—Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry. And Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works. You also must beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words. Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. Erastus stayed in Corinth, but Trophimus I have left in Miletus sick. Do your utmost to come before winter. Eubulus greets you, as well as Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brethren. (II Timothy 4:9-12, 14, 15, 19-21 NKJV)

Paul mentions a bunch of people at the end of his letter. I decided to focus on those verses here and go back the skipped ones in my next devotional times.

Demas~forsook him because he loved the world more than Christ

Titus~departed for another place

Luke~stayed with him

Mark~he wanted brought to him because he was useful to him in the ministry

Tychicus~he sent to Ephesus

Alexander~did him much harm

Priscus & Aquila, household of Onesiphorus he sent special greetings to

Erastus ~stayed in Corinth

Trophimus~was left in Melitus, sick

Eubulus,Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brethren~Greet Timothy

The first thing that comes to mind, is who am I most like in this list?  Certain ones were useful in the ministry or he would not have sent them to various places. Others were no doubt just faithful bretheren in the church who encouraged him or he would not have seen fit to mention them and send them special greetings or to send their greetings to Timothy.

He mentions two who were not faithful.  Demas and Alexander.  One forsook him for the love of the world and the other spent a great deal of time opposing Paul and his preaching. He felt it was important to mention these two.  Was it gossip?  Was it slander?  In today's church, some would say it was. But I think Paul felt it necessary to warn Timothy and his readers of these men because of their evil works to lead others astray and cause trouble in the church.

So if there are those in the church who are causing trouble among the congregation to gain a following, is it slander for the pastor or his wife to warn others of what they are doing?  It's such a fine line.  Matthew 18 should be the starting point. If these people do not make a change after being privately approached, then yes, I think it is appropriate for a warning to go out.  They will cry foul, to justify their position, but God will sort it all out eventually.

Paul only mentions two who were unfaithful and a whole list of those who were faithful.  I want to be among those who can be counted as faithful.

I noticed that he mentions one, Trophimus, whom he had to leave at Melitus because he was sick.  Not much is said about him except that he was sick.  I think that Paul mentions him so that Timothy can pray for him and so that he won't be forgotten.  Paul had his own ailments that he talks about in one of his letters to the Corinthians, so I think he mentions this man because he has a special empathy for him.  We must not forget those who are sick or infirm.  They need encouragement.

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