Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:8.
Did the great apostle to the Gentiles make any real sacrifice when he exchanged Pharisaism for the gospel of Christ? We answer No! With decided purpose, he turned away from wealth, from friends and social distinction, from public honors, and from his kinsmen whom he loved fervently and earnestly. He chose to link his name and his destiny with that of a people he had regarded as low and the offscouring of all things; but for the sake of Christ he suffered the loss of all things.
His labors were more abundant than any of the disciples, his stripes above measure. He was beaten with rods, stoned, shipwrecked, in deaths oft. He was in peril by land and sea, in the city and in the wilderness, from robbers and from his own countrymen. He prosecuted his mission under continual infirmities, in painfulness, in weariness, in watchings often, in cold, in nakedness…. When he answered the bloodthirsty Nero, no man stood with him….
But did Paul devote his precious time to the relation of his grievous abuses? No, he called the attention from himself to Jesus. He did not live for his own happiness, yet he was happy…. “I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.” 2 Corinthians 7:4. And in the last days of his life, with a martyr’s death in full view, he exclaims with satisfaction, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7. And fixing his eye upon the immortal future, which had been the grand, inspiring motive of his whole career, he adds, in full assurance of faith, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day”—and then this man who had lived for others forgets himself—“and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” Oh, noble man of faith! 49Letter 1, 1883.