During his last imprisonment before his martyrdom, the apostle Paul wrote Timothy a second letter—the last letter written from his pen. He ended this letter to Timothy saying, “Do your utmost to come before winter.” 2 Timothy 4:21, first part
Paul made this request for several reasons.
- He knew that he was going to be martyred for the gospel, but he did not know when—that was up to the fickle-minded Nero.
- He had important things that he wanted to discuss with Timothy who was like a son to him, and if Timothy delayed until it was not possible to travel by ship because of winter, he might not see him at all.
- He had not been allowed any privileges at his second arrest and, therefore, had not been able to bring his outer coat with him. He would suffer cold in the winter without this garment.
- He wanted access to inspired writings for study that were not with him, and he wanted Timothy to bring them.
- Ellen White says that “The desire for love and sympathy was implanted in the heart by God himself. Christ in His hour of agony in Gethsemane, while bearing the guilt of sinful men, longed for the sympathy of His disciples. And Paul, though almost indifferent to hardship and suffering, yearned for sympathy and companionship. God would have His people cherish love and sympathy for one another. Humanity, elevated, ennobled, and rendered Godlike, is worthy of respect and esteem. The sons and daughters of God will be tenderhearted, pitiful, courteous, to all men, ‘especially unto them who are of the household of faith.’ ” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 309
Is there someone that you are acquainted with or related to who needs you to come before winter? If you wait, you may be unable to minister to them at all. There comes a time when you cannot minister to your parents. There comes a time when you cannot minister to your children. There comes a time when you cannot witness to your neighbor, fellow worker, or relatives. Why is this? Because we are limited by time which comes to an end. Jesus said, “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.” John 9:4
Come before winter.