May 30, 2016
II Timothy 4:9-15
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
AWOL! It is a common military acronym meaning “Absent without leave.” The United States Uniform Code of Military Justice, Sub Chapter 10, Punitive Articles, Section 885, Article 85 tells us:
Desertion is defined as: (a) Any member of the armed forces who– (1) without
authority goes or remains absent from his unit, organization, or place of duty
with intent to remain away therefrom permanently; (2) quits his unit, organiza-
tion, or place of duty with intent to avoid hazardous duty or to shirk important
Being AWOL can bring the death penalty to a soldier in time of war. However, no one has been executed for this offense since Eddie Slovik faced an Army firing squad on January 31, 1945. Many AWOL offenses are punished by court martial, imprisonment, and dishonorable discharge.
There is an old song from 1944 (lyrics by Johnny Mercer) entitled “Ac-Cent-Tchu -Ate the Positive.” But I am starting off accentuating the negative to show forth the postive! And the positive? By far, most military personnel never go AWOL! They serve their country with loyalty and honor! Thank God for our service men and women! So many have paid a very high price to serve – being wounded in body and/or mind, or laying down their young lives for our country! This Memorial Day let us honor and remember them!
But I would not be true to the mission of this website if I did not apply the concept of loyal and even heroic service to the cause of the Lord Jesus Christ. And – on the other end of the spectrum – too many people are AWOL in this matter of serving God! Paul writes about both types of followers in II Timothy 4:9 through 15:
Be diligent [Timothy] to come to me quickly; for Demas has forsaken
me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica
— Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Get
Mark, and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry. And
Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus….Alexander the coppersmith did me
much harm…beware of him….
• Those who serve with honor – There are six mentioned here who stand in this first category. Of five we are quite sure they served the Lord honorably.
✞ Timothy – is actually not mention in our featured scripture. I put his name in brackets because II Timothy 1:2, tells us he was the recipient of this epistle. And we know he served Jesus faithfully. He came from a Christian lineage (see II Timothy 1:5); was converted by Paul (see I Timothy 1:2); commissioned for Christian service by the apostle (see II Timothy 1:6); accompanied Paul on his second missionary journey (see Acts 16:3); and also on his journey to Jerusalem (see Acts 20:4). Later, Timothy was pastor of the church at Ephesus (see I Timothy 1:3).
✞ Titus – was a faithful companion of Paul (see II Corinthians 2:13; 8:23; Galatians 2:1; Titus 1:4). The apostle appointed him as bishop of Crete (see Titus 1:5).
✞ Luke – the Gentile writer of the third gospel and the book of Acts was a physician (see Colossians 4:14); and accompanied Paul on his second missionary journey (see Acts 16:10-17, 20:5, 21:18, 27:1, 28:16). According to our featured Scripture – verse 11, he was with Paul during his final imprisonment.
✞ Mark – This young nephew of Barnabas (see Colossians 4:10) fell out of favor with Paul (see Acts 13:13; 15:36-40). He then accompanied his uncle on a mission trip to Cyprus (see Acts 15:39). From verse 11 of our Scripture, it is obvious that he was later reconciled with Paul. According to I Peter 5:13, he is a close associate with Peter. He is recognized also as the author of the gospel that bears his name, and often identified as the young man who fled away naked when Jesus was arrested (see Mark 14:51, 52).
✞ Tychicus – Paul calls him “…a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord…” (Ephesians 6:21 – see also Colossians 4:7). In our Scripture (verse 12) he is mentioned being sent to Ephesus.
✞ Crescens – Only mentioned in our featured Scripture, this man seems to have nothing bad said about him. So we will assume that he was a faithful minister building on Paul’s work in Galatia.
All these men did not go AWOL from the Lord’s work! They were faithful to the ministry of Jesus Christ! But in the next blog, we will consider two men who did go AWOL – Demas and Alexander. Are you faithful to the Savior, or are you AWOL from His calling and work?