3 Simple Examples
I have the spiritual gift of making simple things really difficult. You're welcome. Let's try and reverse that, shall we?
Following Christ is not meant to be complicated. Paul gives Timothy three simple, timeless examples of how to do that in 2 Timothy 2.
Example #1: soldier
3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.
Go back to the 40's for a moment, a time when General MacArthur had the coolest title ever: "Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers". The soldiers in his army should not have cared what anyone but he thought. He had the big picture. He was the one in charge. He was the one that had the authority and ability to move his soldiers forward. So it is with God.
Example #2: athlete
5 An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.
We hear that 'cheaters never win' but we know of course that is not true. Cheaters, in fact, win all the time. As a consequence, we justify fudging on God's rules and creating our own standards for living, in particular in our relationship with God. In a perfect world, cheaters would always finish last and we should never forget that the God we serve is perfect. We follow Him like a good athlete, without ever trying to take shortcuts that are so expected in our fallen world.
Example #3: farmer
6 It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.
Of course it is! The farmer puts in time and effort and therefore should get the first share, the assured share, of the rewards. (The lazy farmers need to take a number.)
So.....what is Paul telling Timothy?
The diligent soldier follows his commander.
The diligent athlete wins the prize.
The diligent farmer gets the crops.
Be diligent, earnest, persistent, dedicated and constant in your faith.
Follow God like a soldier, follow His ways like an athlete, and work hard like the farmer.
And watch how he blesses!
See you Sunday,