READ: 2 Timothy 4
THINK: There is nothing better than a brand new package of crayons! The beginning of the school year was always the best for that reason. New, sharp, beautiful crayons. I never wanted to use them because they looked so nice- and you know as soon as you’ve used it once, twice, three times, the paper starts getting torn, the tip isn’t as sharp, and if you press to hard it might even break in half.
Now think about that perfect, sharp, brand new crayon as us. Full of potential and beauty that the Lord has given us. But how useful is a crayon that never comes out of the box? Never gets used? It can be labeled with a big fat WORTHLESS!
Paul says in verse 6 that he is being “poured out like a drink offering.” Later he talks about the harm done to him, how people have deserted him, and how God is delivering him. If Paul was a crayon- what do you think he looked like by this point in his life? He’s physically hurting, he’s cold, and most likely he’s dying. My guess is that Paul was used up. Not only had he been broken and had his paper torn off of him; I believe that since he was at the end of his life- he had used every bit of himself for the Kingdom of God! Paul left nothing of himself because he had given it all to God.
As amazing as Paul is I’m wondering if some of you are thinking how horrible that sounds. To spend all of yourself and have nothing left at the end? That’s not really something I’d like to sign up for, you might be thinking. But let’s go back to the passage and look to see what Paul knew he was gaining by giving up every last piece of himself.
Verse 8 tells us that God will give “all who have longed for Christ’s appearing” a crown of righteousness. And later in verse 18 Paul tells us that God himself is defending and protecting him and preparing to take him safely into his heavenly kingdom. So yes, on this earth, Paul had given everything and received very little. But Paul knew something greater was on it’s way. He had his eyes set toward heaven, set toward the glory of living with Christ and being awarded a heavenly crown.
So whether you are facing a trail, or being challenged to do something really hard for Christ- choose to give yourself up for God. That might mean you don’t look so pretty sitting in that box. It will probably mean that you have to be uncomfortable and you might get less human recognition and appreciation for what you do. But I ask you today to do hard things! By the end of your life, be that broken, used up crayon with your eyes on heaven!
PRAY: Spend some time with God now, asking him what hard things he wants you to do. Where does he want you to spend yourself on behalf of him? Or perhaps you are already doing this, ask God for the encouragement and wisdom to keep living for him.