Summary: Five insights into living a life that’s built to last beyond our lifetime.
Now the immediate context is the preservation of the Christian message in the church in Ephesus after Paul dies. Yet we also find a principle here that applies to living a life that’s built to last. IF WE WANT TO LIVE LIVES BUILT TO LAST, WE NEED TO MULTIPLY OUR INFLUENCE THROUGH OTHER PEOPLE.
You could argue that Paul’s most effective years in ministry were the years he was locked up in a Roman prison. This is because Paul had learned how to multiply his influence through people like Timothy, Silas, Titus, Luke and other coworkers he invested himself in. So even though Paul is locked up when he writes this letter, his ministry is still active through the people he’s multiplied his influence through.
Maybe you’ve seen the movie Mr. Holland’s Opus. It’s a movie about an aspiring composer named Glen Holland who takes a job as a high school band teacher to pay the bills. His real passion isn’t teaching, but it’s to compose a symphony. But life has a way of edging out our dreams, and he spends the next 35 years teaching high school band, never finishing his symphony. When he retires, all of his former students gather together to honor their high school music teacher. One of his former teacher is now a governor, and as she takes the podium she says, "We are your symphony, Mr. Holland. We are the melodies and notes of your opus. We are the music of your life." Glen Holland learned to multiply his influence through other people.
We multiply our influence through our children. Although we must resist the urge to project our own dreams onto our kids, we multiply our influence by instructing our kids in biblical values and equipping them to live Christ centered lives. In fact, part of the legacy we leave our world is our children and grandchildren.
We also multiply our influence through our involvement in Christian service. Whether it’s by serving as a volunteer on our youth staff, serving in children’s ministry, or leading a care group, we multiply our influence through other people. I was so excited to hear that we have twelve people taking our 301 seminar "Discovering My Ministry" this weekend. Those are twelve people who want to multiply their influence through others. If you want to live a life that’s built to last, you’ll need to multiply your influence through other people.
3. Willing to Pay the Price (2 Tim 2:3-7)
This brings us to another command followed by a series of three word pictures in vv. 3-7. Now the command is to "endure hardship," which refers to a willingness to take the difficult road, the road less traveled. Now was Paul a masochist who glorified suffering or is there something else at work here? The answer to what kind of hardship he’s talking about is found in the three word pictures.
Notice the first word picture, that of a soldier. Soldiers endure hardship because being a soldier is a demanding way of life. Soldiers are exposed to the elements, to danger, to times without food or shelter. It’s a dangerous and demanding way to live. I think about U.S. Air Force Captain Scott O’Grady, who’s F-16 fighter jet was shot down in Bosnia a few years ago. Captain O’Grady evaded Bosnian Serb soldiers for six days until his rescue by a Marine Corps search and rescue team. During that time he lived by eating bugs and licking the dew from plants. Being a soldier is demanding.