Read 2 Timothy 4.
Paul seemed certain in this chapter that his life was nearing its end. He said so in verse 6, “I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near.”
Despite the fact that he was soon going to die as a martyr for the faith, the return of Christ and his coming kingdom were still promises that were important to him:
- It was Christ’s “appearing and his kingdom” that he had in mind when he charged Timothy to “preach the Word” in verses 1b-2.
- The reward he was looking forward to was tied to the fact that he had “longed for his appearing” (v. 8c).
Even though Paul’s death prevented him from seeing Christ’s return from the vantage point of earth, there was no fear that he would miss out on Christ’s kingdom. As he said in verse 18, “The Lord will… bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom.” What he wanted most in life was for Christ to return and establish his promised kingdom on earth. If he died before that happened, he still had confidence that it would happen and that he would be there to enter the kingdom with Christ.
We have milestones in our lives that we look forward to. Depending on where you are in life, it might be graduating from high school or college, falling in love and getting married, having your first child, watching your children become adults, holding a grandchild, or retiring from work. These are all noble and worthwhile things to look forward to but does the coming of Christ and establishment of his kingdom enter your thoughts as well? Are you looking forward to that day when we will live and reign forever with Christ?
If not, why not? Is it love for this present world? Are you investing too much in this world and not enough into God’s kingdom?
The coming of Christ and the establishment of his kingdom will be the greatest time in the history of humanity. The best family event or festival or concert or life milestone will never bring you as much joy as reigning with Christ in his kingdom. It will be the greatest time of your life and it will last forever.
If you believe that, it will help you keep serving Christ no matter what the climate or culture or traditions around you are. Enjoy and anticipate the good things in life God created for us to enjoy, but keep Christ’s return and his kingdom at the center of what you hope for. It will help you serve the Lord when truth is unwanted (vv. 1-4) and it will give you hope and comfort in the moment of death (vv. 6-8).