Hello there! I hope everyone is doing well! An evangelist I love to listen to often reminds his audiences that even when we’re at our very worst and trudging through what feels like the frigid ninth circle of hell, we still have reason to praise: our sins are forgiven, our souls have been saved, we have life everlasting, and Jesus is Lord! Trapped temporarily in this perishing body and bound by the purely physical dimensions of space and time, it’s easy to lose sight of the promises and pleasures that are fixed in eternity – we have so much to look forward to and be thankful for!
“However, as it is written: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him’” – 1 Corinthians 2:9
Okay, it’s time to jump into the third and last installment of this Timothian series (I’m fairly certain “Timothian” is not an actual theological adjective, but I sure felt academic – if not somewhat pretentious—typing it!). Here again is our passage from 2nd Timothy 2: 3-7.
Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing 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.
Since by now we’ve mastered what it takes to be both the valiant soldier and the disciplined athlete (note the sarcasm!) we’ll move right along to our role as “farmers.”
It probably goes without saying, given my regular online presence, weekly visits to either HEB or Costco (my new best friend) for items necessary for budgeted survival, thumbs that don’t much care for the color green, and skin that has for its sworn enemy that swirling sphere of blazing hot plasma we know as the Sun, that I know nothing about farming! But thank goodness the Word of God was written in such a way that even the most agriculturally challenged among us can understand its meaning. 🙂
I’ve observed enough to know (and watched enough movies!) that just like soldiers and athletes, the farmer’s work is no walk in the barnyard. He has to prepare and fertilize the soil, plough, sew the seeds, pick the weeds, and finally, reap (I’m sure there are other tasks involved, but researching them would only give me anxiety!). In a figurative sense, I see the farmer as a carefully chosen metaphor representing the Christian’s commitment to diligence and resolve to stay the course – or field, as it were – no matter the weather forecast or pesky pasture pillagers.
I take this passage to mean that in order for us to be fulfilled as disciples of Christ living an abundant life here on Earth, effective as ministers, stewards, and servants, and ultimately partakers of His heavenly kingdom, we must first endure the hardship of the harvest, remain steadfast within each season’s storms, and stay focused on the ultimate reward – the joyful salvation of our brothers and sisters and the glorious wedding feast at which we will truly taste the goodness of God’s bounty.
I hope you all have found this humble exposition helpful; thank you so much for reading! I’ll end with this precious promise from James 1:12:
“Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.”
Stay fit, stay faithful, stay focused on God’s wonderful plans for you! ~<3 Di