Father, help me to embrace community and to be a blessing to others. Bring us into the fullness of Christ.
Read: 2 Timothy 4:9-22
 Do your best to come to me quickly,  for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia.  Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.  I sent Tychicus to Ephesus.  When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.  Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done.  You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.  At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them.  But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.  Greet Priscilla and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus.  Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus.  Do your best to get here before winter. Eubulus greets you, and so do Pudens, Linus, Claudia and all the brothers and sisters.  The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you all.
Reflect: When you think of Paul, how do you picture him?
Paul was a leader powerfully used by God, yet he was also a man. He had desires for possessions that would presumably make him comfortable. He specifically mentions his cloak, scrolls, and parchments (13). He also needed people!
Paul was buffeted by the sad reality of desertion, loneliness, and opposition. These challenges of leadership came from the choices and actions of those who were against Paul, such as Alexander (14), or deserters, such as Demas (10). Yet some of the loneliness was due to sickness, as in the case of Trophimus (20), or leaders released into ministry, including Tychicus (12), Titus (10), and Erastus (20). Paul’s words show himself to be a man who needs companionship.
Yet that is not the end of the story. These words also tell of commitment (by Luke, 11), of divine rescue (17,18), and of restoration. Mark, who had deserted Paul in Pamphylia (Acts 15:37,38), is welcomed back as a companion in ministry (11).
These final words of Paul show just how much he needs the family of God. How about you?
Help someone who needs a word of encouragement, an active display of support or intercession. Follow through.
Lord, You are so good and part of that goodness is revealed in community. Help us walk together as You desire.