As Paul sits in prison and writes his final words to Timothy, both this Greek word and, in the Phillips' translation, the way the next phrase is stated, give us a picture of undeniable power. My friends, we play so much of our lives like we're on a stage, being observed by family, friends, coworkers, bosses, even strangers. We tap-dance or sing our song, and our highest hope is to be noticed and applauded; to be thought worthy by this vast crowd we think observes our life...
And yet the audience, Paul tells us, is only really two: "God and Christ Jesus." And the only acceptable act is one: "to preach the Word of God" with urgency and without ceasing.
As you consider Paul in the closing moments of his life, it's that first word that "sets the stage" for the kind of life to which we're all called. For as we call only on God to witness our delight in speaking His name, we must know the root-word that's tucked into Paul's first word: μαρτύρ - martyr.
To what lengths are you willing to go for the sake of the Gospel?