Time For God: May 26

Written by Paul Beckingham

Focus: 2 Timothy 4:6
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.
 
Reflect:
Tea is to Britain what coffee is to North America—a cup of cheer and some caring hospitality. Tea is an invitation to a personal conversation. It is more than a drink; tea is a symbol of warmth and welcome, friendship, and a bond of companionship.

Growing up in England, a full kettle was always “on the boil.” Unexpected visitors were always expected; they were a feature of daily life. You need no appointment. You simply show up at somebody’s door. A hot kettle, boiling furiously, announces its welcome. A pre-heated teapot boasts and hosts clear water and choice tealeaves. After three minutes, steeped tea fills elegant bone china teacups. You feel welcomed, honored, and cared for. A plate of ginger biscuits quietly appears. Perfect! A cup of tea lovingly symbolizes courtesy and care, safe company, and open relationship.

Even greater care was taken in ancient Israel in the holy place of God. To welcome God—and welcome His worshippers—required a precise and solemn practice. The priests strictly supervised each kind of offering. They maintained the spiritual significance that each offering symbolized. The offerings speak of both ethics and spirituality as God’s people join Him in His work to care for the welfare of His world.

The meat offering signified earthly shalom—wholeness, salvation, welfare, and peace. It required ingredients of fine flour (love for neighbor) and oil (love for God). The drink offering used wine or strong liquor. Its focus was spiritual. It signified the quality of true faith: reliance upon—and assurance of—God’s abiding presence and peace, His daily provision and protection, His mercy, and mighty acts on our behalf.

The Hebrew language renders the drink offering in an emphatic way: to pour out the thing being poured. There is no reservation here; all is given freely. So, too, Paul holds back nothing back. He pours out his life for the Gospel. He gives his all for the spiritual good of Gentile hearers. God sends the Apostle as the herald—an appointed crier or announcer proclaiming this Good News: God’s grace comes now to us.

Consider:
Where are you holding back in your walk of faith? What is God inviting you to give?

Pray:
O Lord our God, let us find hope under the shadow of your wings. You will support us, both when little, and even to gray hairs. When our strength is from you, it is strength. When our own, it is weakness. We return to you, O Lord, that our weary souls may rise towards you, leaning on the things which you have created, and passing on to yourself, since you have wonderfully made them; for with you is refreshment and true strength. Amen.        
[Augustine of Hippo, 4th Century]
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