“Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs—he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.” (2 Timothy 2: 3-7 NIV)
Like a spray of bullets, Paul hits us with not one, but three word pictures in his second letter to Timothy: soldiers, athletes, and farmers. Has Paul had too much coffee or is there a common thread? (Please check previous blogs for posts on Paul’s first two word pictures.)
Pull on your overalls because this week, we’ll tackle Paul’s third word picture of the hardworking farmer. Paul’s word picture shifts from doing hard things such as being a soldier and training for marathons to sharing in the harvest. If you have ever grown something, you know the pleasure of seeing it thrive. I love to garden. Unfortunately, I love running more and tend to neglect my plants. Soil prep and planting, I like. Pulling weeds, not so much. But when the flowers bloom, I can’t wait to show them off. Paul reminds us life will not always be hard things. Even the rigors of training sweeten as we see progress. Soon, however, the mission will be completed for the soldier, the race finished for the athlete, and the crop harvested for the hardworking farmer. Persevere through the hard things. The harvest is coming.
Questions for the Week:
1) List the tasks of a farmer. What kind of schedule does he keep?
2) Are the results under his control?
3) How do you think this affects his work?
4) Share your own gardening experiences.
5) Of what spiritual harvests might Paul be thinking? What would be your sweetest spiritual reward?