Message: In 2 Timothy 4 Paul was making a final push to Timothy about the priority of proclaiming the gospel whether it was convenient or not. It seemed he was anticipating his death because he was giving a lot of final instructions, making arrangements and giving warnings. He also wanted Timothy to come to see him one last time. He instructed him to rebuke, correct and encourage with great patience and teaching. This is what stood out to me today. We live in a culture where people feel bold and quick to correct other people. They treat them with disgust and it’s done so harshly and disrespectfully that the message doesn’t come across. What good is the correction if the other person doesn’t receive it? If this is true of our worldly culture, how much more true (and important) is this in spreading the gospel? I suspect that sometimes we are doing it out of a desire to be right and we leave behind our concern for the person we are correcting. We may not realize what we are doing but if we aren’t careful we will leave behind us a trail of damaged people who heard the truth but aren’t any better for it. I like the quote “grace without truth is meaningless, but truth without grace is just mean”. When we have an important package to deliver, we take great care in not only making sure that it accurately makes it to the correct destination, but we also make sure that it arrives safely. We use bubble wrap for fragile items and we secure the box with plenty of packing tape so that it won’t bust open during transit. We like to have tracking information and sometimes even insurance to make sure our package not only arrives, but arrives in tact. Imagine how pointless it would be if we didn’t pack it up well and a shattered item arrived? Would the recipient even recognize what we sent? The gospel is the most important package we could ever deliver. We need to treat it with accuracy and protect it so that when it arrives it will be beneficial and useful.