“G’morning brothers. I have something to tell you. I’m dropping out of the Gospel mission work. I am leaving the team. Paul, it is especially hard for me to break this news to you. I’ve packed my luggage and I am heading to Thessalonica. Thanks for all the happy fellowship we enjoyed but my heart’s not in it anymore.”
The Apostle Paul would soon be dying for the cause of Christ. He wrote a letter to Timothy and among his last words of counsel, he noted with sadness and disappointment the following:
“Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world (this now age) and is departed unto Thessalonica.” 2Timothy 4:10.
Would you allow some imagination and creative thinking to colour a context for the above verse? If you think it’s too far-fetched for Demas, you will probably agree, it’s relevant in 2019.
Suppose you were on assignment for a media outlet and your mission was to do an exclusive interview with Demas. Tracking him down in Thessalonica could be challenging. Maybe he has a posh executive suite on Wall Street. He is on-the-tear 24/7. His schedule is jammed packed full. But assuming he could sacrifice fifteen minutes of his most valuable time to grab a coffee with you – how do you think the conversation would go?
Demas would probably tell you about his hectic schedule, his strategic business plans, the stress of it all, a get-a-way Mediterranean cruise, and a few other things he is striving for. He would seem enthused. Yes, there’s a chance, he might mention his attendance at the prayer meeting last night, but there would be a certain hollowness in that statement. There – but not there.
As a young Christian journalist, you’re intrigued by the energy and excitement in Demas’ voice when you contacted him. You’ve heard of his swift success. Perhaps Demas is on the right track. You wonder:
“Maybe I should be more focused on journalism – even if it means my spiritual life will have to get the short end of the stick for a while. Being a success like brother Demas is appealing. Perhaps my career should mean more to me than just a ‘means to the end’. Probably, while I’m in my prime, I should give myself wholly to my career and put my spiritual life on pause until I get established and have all my debts paid down. I’ll still try to participate in as many Christian responsibilities as I can possibly manage with my hectic schedule. I think the Lord would understand.”
It’s time for the interview with Demas to proceed. He has only those fifteen minutes for you. You start off with:
“Your good old friend Paul is expecting to die for Christ at any moment. He was so disappointed when you deserted him. I think it almost broke his heart.”
For a moment Demas stares off into the distance. Is he having a flashback?
“….Happy. In love with the Lord and on fire for Christ. Enthused. Helping. Singing. Living for one thing. Involved. Encouraging others. Sharing the Gospel. Personal communion with the Lord. Wow – Christ was everything to me back in the day…”
Then Demas shifts his position, crosses a leg, brushes a tear off his cheek and focuses on his next appointment and everything else that’s important to him in this world – this world that he fell in love with. He fell head-over-heels for ‘this now age’. The temporal. This present world.
“It’s time to run now,” he says.
The little chat is over.
What a loss! The greatest tragedy in life is for a sinner to die without Christ. The second greatest tragedy is for a Christian to fall in love a second time with some ‘thing’ or some ‘one’ other than Christ, and to die off-track and cold to Christ.
Walk carefully and closely with the Lord today.
Warmly in Christ
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