As I drove up that gusty August afternoon, Hal had just finished hanging the squirrel feeder in the backyard and restoring the dilapidated bird feeder. I asked what he was doing and he said, “Getting ready for winter.” Honey, it’s a long way from winter. “Tell that to the squirrels and birds when the snow starts to fly” was his reply. The squirrels must store up for winter and the birds need a reliable source of food when snow and ice are covering the ground.
This response reminded me of the words written by the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 4:21 “Do thy diligence to come before winter.” Paul was in a jail cell in Rome ministering to the saints in Caesars’ household when he ask a young disciple named Timothy to bring him three things. He asked for his cloke, and he asked for his books and his parchments. Undoubtedly, these things were of great importance to Paul for several reasons. First, he asked for his cloke, which is preparation for his health as winter approached. Next, he asked for his books. Most likely, they were books of scripture, such as the commandments of God, which would help prepare him for holiness. Last, Paul asked for the parchments. These may have been words that the Apostle had personally penned about his Lord and Savior. Could these parchments have been Paul’s way of preparing for his happiness in spite of being in the winter of his life?
I can’t help but wonder what may have happened if Timothy had been too busy to hang a spiritual bird feeder for Paul, even though winter was approaching. The Bible is silent on the details concerning the outcome in this matter. But what if Timothy had arrived in Rome one day too late? What if he had been attending a leadership conference or working on a special program at church? What if he didn’t go because he just thought it wasn’t that important and Rome was a long way off? I would like to believe that Timothy dropped everything he was doing and took these items to his Mentor. Our Lord has many children who are going through cold seasons of their lives such as sickness, depression, divorce or maybe the loss of a dear loved one. They may need someone willing to come before winter and provide feeders of health, holiness, and happiness. The snow is going to fly, and winter will come, the question is, are you making preparations for yourself and others also?