The Cloak, The Books, and the Parchment , Pt. 1

In 2020 we have seen a lot of influential people pass on to the other side of eternity. One of them is someone I consider this generation’s greatest Christian apologist. This series is inspired by a great author, speaker, teacher, intellectual, and apologist: Ravi Zacharias. I heard him speak on this subject (and now I can’t even find the recording 😑😒). It left a lasting impression on me, one I believe is worth sharing.

Verse: When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. 2 Timothy 4:13 ESV 

You’re probably wondering why on Earth there needs to be an exposition on this verse. It’s not as if this verse is entirely spiritual, but for me, it speaks volumes. Paul, a man most Christians would say is the chief of apostles, penned so much wisdom, hard truths, and dense doctrinal rhetoric that it almost boggles my mind to think he would stop to ask for these three things. I’ve given it some thought and here is what I think. 

Bring me the cloak. A cloak is meant to keep us warm and to cover us in time of cold or in times when comfort is needed. To me, the cloak represents our friends, family, and those who cover us in prayer, in love, in wisdom, and in encouragement when the world gets so cold. It’s easy to turn away from friends when the going gets tough. For me, it is especially easy to retreat from my friends when I’m discouraged, feeling dejected, feeling incompetent, or like I’m not enough. It’s easy to run and hide from my friends because I don’t want them to see my failings. I don’t want them to see my vulnerabilities. I don’t want them to think of me as anything less than a great person and a great friend. In some ways, that is a selfish reason to shut people out, but generally, it’s also because I don’t want to take out my frustrations on them!  

But in the wonderful way that life works, it is our friends that help center us. They make us feel loved, welcomed, and appreciated. They remind us of our accomplishments and greatness. I am reminded of something Bishop Greenleaf stated on the show Greenleaf. I loosely paraphrase: “A man expects [the world] to treat him poorly, but he looks to his friends to make sense of it all.” It is our friends who hold us up and encourage us when we want to give up. It is a true friend that will look beyond the yelling and the sad countenance and reach down and pull you out of that languishing pit. In times when the world seems cold, bring me the cloak. That is not the time to wander without your covering. That is not the time to throw away your cloak. That is the time to embrace your cloak. Yes, maybe some time is needed to clear your mind and get yourself right before you can face people, but don’t forsake or abandon your cloak. It will not do what it is meant to do if you do not embrace it.  

Don’t let the cold close to your soul….no man is an island. – Maintstay 

Photo credit: RZIM


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