Ordinary Stuff

Read: 2 Timothy 4:6-18

When you come, bring the cloak . . . also the books, and above all the parchments. (v. 13)

The drive was blissfully uneventful as we pulled the empty trailer behind our car—two hours’ drive away on a cold, misty, wintry Michigan day. The plan was to pick up Ben from his existing foster family along with whatever possessions he had acquired during his brief ten years of life. After exchanging introductions and socially polite small talk, we packed up his things. A few boxes and a new bike went into the trailer; the oversized stuffed animal and undersized little boy got into the car for the return journey home.

In 2 Timothy, Paul is at the end of his life, facing trial and, ultimately, execution. His friends are gone, and he is writing to Timothy from prison. Never again will he experience the joy of a warm meal with friends, the warmth of a fire, stimulating conversation, or the pleasure of long walks in the comforting rays of the sun. In fact, more than likely, he’s cold, so he asks for his coat and a few other odds and ends. Creature comforts for the body and the soul.

Does God mind that we have material goods? Of course not. Human beings have needs in all sorts of ways, but in the end, Paul is clear. His ultimate comfort lay not in those temporal possessions but in Jesus. “To him be the glory forever” (v. 18). —Tammy DeRuyter

As you pray, ask God to help you surrender your possessions and your heart to him.

About the Author

Tammy DeRuyter is a former stockbroker turned student of theology and history. She holds master’s degrees in both from Fuller Theological Seminary and Central Michigan University. Married for more than 25 years to Michael, an ordained RCA pastor, they have three emerging, young adult children ages 20, 21, and 22—the youngest of whom was adopted at 11.