Paul exhorts his son in the faith, Timothy, to be a good solider, an unashamed workmen, and to hold fast to the faithful word (2 Timothy 1:13, 2:3, 2:15). In short, he tells him to be faithful.
Then, in the last chapter of his last inspired epistle, Paul wrote this about his own service:
“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:” – 2 Timothy 4:7
Speaking of himself, Paul says he had been a faithful soldier (“fought a good fight”), an unashamed workman (“finished my course”), and held fast the faithful word (“kept the faith”).
Paul had already been made a pattern of salvation by God’s longsuffering and grace (1 Timothy 1:16), and now Paul is claiming that his ministry was a pattern of faithful service (2 Tim 1:12, 2:7-8, 3:10-11, 4:7).
It is noteworthy that Paul did not depart with a huge crowd as a legacy (all in Asia turned away from him), nor with great wealth (he was sentenced to death in prison), nor notoriety (he was laughed out of Mars Hill and the Roman courtrooms).
Instead, he left a pattern of faithfulness in the face of opposition, unpopularity, poverty, persecution, and this present evil world.
The Lord did not leave us guessing about what to do in ministry or how to do it. He revealed the grace pattern for salvation and also for ministry through the apostle Paul.
Justin “following a pattern” Johnson