When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments. (2 Tim. 4:13)
Paul knows his time is short. He is in prison and near the end of his appeals process. It doesn’t look good and execution is close. With this end in sight, what does he focus on?
“Please bring me the books (scrolls) and above all the parchments.”
He asks fro something to read and then something on which he can take a few notes. This is Paul’s mentality: always reading and always writing. Even if Paul knew he had one week to live, he wanted that week spent in learning.
Personally, I have written so little of any consequence. However, I have written voluminously. I have stacks and stacks of journals piled up. Quite a number of boxes I have in storage are just journals stretching back decades.
If someone would open up my digital accounts after I die, they would find files that would print out into the hundreds of pages from sermons, lectures, etc. Then there is Evernote, where I take a lot of typed notes when I’m thinking about Bible study and am more “organized”. Then there is Logos and Olive Tree, where I have typed up notes in the verses and between all that would bring a few hundred more pages.
I’m always jotting things down. My father-in-law told me the other day I looked like some FBI guy because I was always carrying a notebook with me and jotting down observations.
In all of that one would find things to be of very little use. I just jot things down a lot. Paul was much better at his writing.
I think of the work of Pope John Paul II. His instructions to his closest aides were to burn his papers upon his death. Thankfully they ignored his instructions and we have gleaned hundreds of pages of incredible spiritual thought.
I think of Thomas Merton all he left behind, now printed into volumes that go far past his lifetime.
Dallas Willard left a library full of notes that are still being published.
David McCullough has a writing shed on his property where he probably has ideas and thorough notes for 6-8 more books.
John Grisham keeps files and files of ideas for novels. Who wouldn’t want THAT file when he is gone?
So many more. You could mine their work for years. For me, I write with great volume and little substance. Yet, I want to go to the end of my life with a book in my hand and a notebook nearby. I want to go out as a learner.
A FURTHER NOTE: I am taking a break from social media and if you find this post helpful and worth sharing, I’d love it if you shared it with others!