The Reading: 2 Timothy 4:9-18
“Demas, in love with this present world …” (v.10) RSV
Demas is not your best known character in the New Testament. He was one of Paul’s team of missionaries. What we know of him is a cautionary tale for us. In all the previous readings over these last weeks we have seen wasted or lost years effectively restored, but today we do not know what happened to Demas; his life is an unfinished story. It serves to remind us that we may be in the midst of wasting our lives. And the question is, what are we going to do about it?
Until Demas left Paul, because he had fallen “in love with this present world” (v.10), he had been a regular member of Paul’s team. In the letter to the Colossians Paul writes: “Luke the beloved physician and Demas greet you” (Colossians 4:14); he also mentions Mark, Epaphras and others. Demas was plainly one of Paul’s trusted workers. He is again mentioned when Paul writes his short letter to Philemon: “Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers (Philemon 1:24).
Even keen and committed Christians can lose their vision, their calling and their cutting edge. This can happen for many reasons: lust, laziness, neglect of spiritual disciplines, false teaching, etc. Demas seems to have grown weary of fighting the good fight. He wanted some of the pleasures that the ‘world’ could offer. The ‘world’ doesn’t necessarily mean immoral or sinful activities; it may simply mean that he preferred the innocent pleasures of this world, to the costly discipleship and the high calling to follow Christ.
Some of us may have let our faith slip over recent years. We are now in danger, not only of being lukewarm but of growing cold. Perhaps we didn’t realise it, but now the Spirit is beckoning us back. Our desire is to love God with “all our heart, soul, mind and strength” (Matthew 22:37). Now is the time to act. The past is past. Let us look to the future with our Lord – he will renew us.
Lord, resuscitate me from compromise and lack of spiritual edge. Restore my first love and commitment. Amen.
1 Who did not know that the Lord had departed from him?
2 Which church was lukewarm?