Paul wrote these words to Timothy in what is believed to be his last epistle. Paul knew his death was near. In this letter, one can detect an environment of spiritual conflict and opposition to the gospel. He even mentioned to Timothy by name some who had forsaken him in his gospel ministry. Yet, Paul was not in despair. In these troubling circumstances and facing death, how did this suffering apostle view his death? As an offering of worship to God!
Paul expressed that he was ready to be offered. This particular offering alludes to a drink offering. Paul was ready to be “poured out” in death for the glory of God and as a confirmation to the gospel he believed, preached and suffered for.
How do you want to die? I don’t mean whether you would choose a certain disease or accident. Rather, with what mindset do you want to die? Here is a secret that’s not so secret: Paul died the way that he lived. He lived his life as an offering in dedication to God. His mindset was to consecrate all of himself to the praise and service of Jesus Christ. The New Testament contains numerous references to believers offering spiritual sacrifices to God. Romans 12 instructs us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice to God. Allow me to give a few specific thoughts to help motivate and instruct us in this matter.
- We Will Dedicate Ourselves to What We Value. Many a mother has spent all day cleaning her house, making food, baking a cake, shopping for a gift and more all to throw a birthday party for her child. After all the guests leave, she cleans up the house, puts the birthday boy or girl in bed, then in an exhale of exhaustion throws herself in bed. Why all the fuss and effort? Because she values that child, and appropriately so. Why would Paul be willing to sacrifice comforts in life, sit in prison and finally await an appointment with a Roman executioner? Because Jesus Christ was most precious to Him. When we see the depths of our sins and our utter inability to remove our guilt, Jesus becomes precious to us. When we see Him as Creator, King and Savior, we understand that His eternal worth surpasses all else. John the Baptist saw it. He didn’t even feel worthy enough to take the sandals off Jesus’ feet (John 1:27). Let us pray that the Lord would continually show us His worthiness and value.
- A Life of Consecration is Made Up of Consecrated Days. We might look at Paul’s example and want to go make a huge splash of spiritual offering before God. That is a good desire, but remember consistency and faithfulness. The boring and dull days are to be lived for His glory. The routine days of faithfulness at school, work or home must be made to count for His praise. God is pleased when we honor Him in the dramatic moments and in the mundane. Let us seek faithfulness to follow Jesus over the long haul, including today!
- Get Specific. Living life as a drink-offering to God can seem noble, but impractical. What do we mean? It means we should offer our words as worship to God. The way that we speak, the things that we refrain from speaking should reflect a heart that loves Christ and wants to honor Him. The same is true for our thoughts. Can we in good conscience offer impure, covetous, bitter thoughts to God? The specifics are many. Our level of engagement and service in the life of the church, relationships, work, play, money, etc. all should be seen through the lens of consecration. Think also about your sufferings. Through the grace of the Holy Spirit, we can see our sickness, loss, and various other trials as opportunities to pour ourselves out as an offering of thanksgiving and praise to God.
- Never Forget the Perfect Offering. As sincere as our desires may be, as determined and disciplined that we may be, our offerings will still be flawed. They will probably have significant flaws. Yet, our offerings to God are not for the purpose of atoning for our sins. That offering was reserved solely for Jesus Christ. “For by one offering, He perfected forever them that are sanctified” (Heb. 10:14). Jesus’ sacrifice was to satisfy the just claims of God against our sins. The sacrifices of believers are a response of gratitude and joy to God our Savior. Only through the perfect sacrifice of Christ are our imperfect sacrifices made acceptable before God (1 Peter 2:5). So, because of Christ, for Christ and through Christ, let us pour ourselves out in life and death.