When the end is near, some begin to reflect on life. This journey back in time can take one to the sweet mountaintops of days gone by, or it can be a valley of missed opportunities and regrets. When Paul wrote to Timothy what would be his last letter, Paul was in prison and his head was literally about to be on the chopping block. Paul needed encouragement, so what did he do? He encouraged another. “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God” (2 Timothy 1:6).
Paul didn’t feel sorry for himself, blame God, or complain. He made lemonade out of the lemons of life he endured. Paul knew why he was in jail, he knew who Jesus was, and he knew where his strength came from—it wasn’t from within; it wasn’t from the outer world; it was entirely the “gift of God,” which means the gospel. It’s the same gospel that made Paul not reflect on his past as Saul (enemy of Christ) but on Paul the redeemed child of God. This is the same gospel message young Timothy was brought up in by his mother and grandmother. The very same gospel that comforts you, reminds you that we are no longer prisoners to sin but dearly loved and forgiven children of God. When I have one of my valley days, I need to hear this message and remind myself of it. Like Paul, I remind you to take the time to remind someone else today of their Savior’s love.