A Common Thread

Posted: August 12, 2010 in QT's
Tags: , , ,

What do a soldier, an athlete, a farmer, and a Christian have in common? According to the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 2:7 the answer to this question is worth giving some serious thought to. In this letter the aged Apostle is trying to tell Timothy, his “son” in the ministry, something important. You see, Paul and Timothy shared a special bond. Timothy came to faith in Christ through the influence and teaching of his mother and grandmother and then he had the opportunity to be discipled by Paul. He traveled with him, ministered with him, and learned the great truths of the Christian faith from him. As Timothy is struggling with pastoring his own church his old mentor writes him this letter to encourage him to remember all he has been taught and to stand firm in his calling to pass along his knowledge to others who will in turn continue to pass it along to others. This is exactly what discipleship is. Christianity is passed along as faithful followers of Christ invest into the lives of other followers of Christ. Sometimes though this can be harder than it sounds; sometimes conflicts arise even among Christians. Sometimes Christians get focused on the wrong things. Sometimes Christians don’t do a very good job of following Christ and sometimes people claim to be followers of Christ when they really aren’t. That’s just the truth. So what? Our calling is still the same.

Read Paul’s words to Timothy in 2Timothy 2:1-2, “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (ESV). Paul tells Timothy to stay focused on Jesus, draw strength from his relationship with the Lord, and keep on making disciples. Then he talks about soldiers, athletes, and farmers. So what do these three have in common and what does it have to do with making disciples? They all three endure hardship because the result is worth it.

I’ve never been a soldier but my father and grandfather were and they both told me stories about their days in the military and one thing is for sure. A soldier’s life is not a life of comfort; it’s a life of suffering for a cause and a purpose greater than the individual. Paul tells Timothy to suffer as a soldier for the Lord. I’m not much of an athlete either but I have been spending a lot of time running lately. My wife and I push ourselves physically because we want to be in shape but it doesn’t come easy. It takes commitment.  We’ve even been talking about competing in a 5k run and maybe we will. If we do we’ll sign up, pay the fee, start at the designated time and place and give it our all to reach the goal line (without embarrassing ourselves). The only way to get the prize is to compete by following the rules set forth. I’m not a farmer either but both of my grandfathers were and I’ve spent some time planting, weeding, and picking, plucking, and digging. I also know what it’s like to sit down to a meal of fresh, homegrown vegetables. So what’s the point? Perseverance, obedience, and persistence are necessary for soldiers, athletes, farmers and Christians. The rewards are great but they will only come through a little blood, sweat, and tears. Some good old fashioned hard work and commitment are called for.

I am grateful to those who have invested their lives and ministries into mine. I only hope I will be found just as faithful to pass along the faith and sound biblical teaching they’ve entrusted to my care.

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