Paul wrote the book of II Timothy from a Roman prison shortly before his execution. It would be his last epistle. Because of that sober setting, Paul’s words carry a unique poignancy.
Paul said, “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing” (II Timothy 4:6-8).
What we find absent in Paul’s personal epitaph are the numbers and measurements we all use to justify our value and purpose. He never mentioned how many people got saved under his ministry. Or how many people he healed. He did not list how many nations he traveled through or the names of the influential people who gave him an audience. He was too focused on the image of Jesus for those things to matter. His gaze was fixed on his righteous Judge who would someday place a crown of righteousness upon his head. That was enough for Paul because to him, it was everything.
When faced with the end of his life on Earth there was no drama or unease in Paul’s heart. There was no unbridled human ambition. Just peace. He simply said that he fought the good fight and finished his course having journeyed through life faithful to the end. That was Paul’s epitaph and it can be ours if we make sure that we have set our sights on what is truly important in this life in expectation of what awaits us in the next.