Friday, 2 March 2018
…greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy, 2 Timothy 1:4
This continues Paul’s thought concerning his relationship with Timothy of the previous verse. Here he next says to him that he is, “greatly desiring to see you.” The Greek word he uses indicates a longing for, or a yearning. We can greatly desire something we see at the store without having yearned for it. But those things we long for are the things we set our mind on continuously. Paul’s mind was brought back, time and again, to his fellowship with Timothy, and his heart was stirred for more of it. And there are two reasons for this. First he says, “being mindful of your tears.”
It can be inferred that upon their last parting, Timothy openly broke down and wept. His heart was broken that Paul, his teacher and friend, was being separated from him. This exact same thought is conveyed to us concerning the very church that Timothy was now given the charge of overseeing. In Acts 20:36-38, we read –
“And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. 37 Then they all wept freely, and fell on Paul’s neck and kissed him, 38 sorrowing most of all for the words which he spoke, that they would see his face no more. And they accompanied him to the ship.”
The care Paul had for the churches he ministered to, for the people that he fellowshipped with, and in particular for Timothy whom he traveled with and mentored, would overwhelm the hearts of those people when they realized their parting may be permanent. It stands as a testimony to the beauty of Christ being reflected through this great apostle. Timothy’s tears of parting rent Paul’s heart; and he longed to see him again, and to instead see and experience tears of rejoicing, and in turn that he may rejoice. That is his second reason for wanting to see Timothy. As he says, “that I may be filled with joy.”
In seeing Timothy again, there would be joy in abundance. There would be talks of missionary travels, of conversions, of baptisms, of love feasts, and of doctrine. The world would seem right as they talked about everything that had been missed or experienced during their time of separation. There would be rejoicing in the fellowship of the Spirit, and in the blessed hope of being united once again with the Lord upon His return. These things would fill Paul with joy, and this is why he yearned to be with his protege once again.
Life application: Ecclesiastes says that there is a time for everything. This includes times of permanent parting. If we knew when that time would be, would we act as we do towards those around us? Even if we plan to see someone in the morning, the morning may never come for one of us. Let us be careful to hold those we love with a special note of care as they depart our presence.
Gracious heavenly Father, You have granted us fellowship with people that we have come to love in our lives. We are all the more blessed because we know them and have had personal times of joy with them. But there is a time when we will be parted for the last time. And so help us to be wise about how we depart from their presence, knowing that we may not see them again in this life. But for those who have the hope of Christ and of the resurrection, at least we know that the separation is not forever. Thank You, O God, for this blessed assurance which comforts us beyond even the grave itself. Amen.