Summary: A message from 2 Timothy about what God expect from us after He gifts and calls us.
Paul here is giving Timothy some instructions as a father in the ministry. He makes an analogy between three areas of life compared to being a Christian. I believe that Paul does this to help Timothy understand the using of his gift of pasturing. This can also be applied to 1) general Christian life 2) gifts 3) our calling.
So let us look at this from the perspective of gifts.
(1) You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
The word that is important is the word grace. This is where we get our calling from. It is by God’s grace that He uses us. Grace is used as “unmerited favor” but also as the “power to be and do what God has called us to be and do”. It is God’s power.
(2) And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.
Paul tells Timothy don’t just keep these teachings to yourself but pass them on to others. Then expect them to pass it on to others. This is what a true teacher does. They don’t teach to give out knowledge but they teach so that the student may get it, apply it and pass it on to others.
(3) Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. (4) No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs--he wants to please his commanding officer. (5) Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules. (6) The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.
Soldier – don’t get caught up with daily affairs but please his commanding officer
Athlete – compete according to rules to get the victor’s crown
Farmer – hardworking, receives a share of the crop, remembering that his share is according to how much crop is achieved
What is the similarities between the three?
1) They all must be diligent
2) They all must be faithful
3) There is an element of faith
4) There must be a dependency on the Lord to make each successful.
To achieve success one must be diligent to the task. We can’t sit back and expect things to happen even if we have talent and skill. We must work hard.
Illustration: Michael Jordan who made thousands of shots in practice before he made them in the game. Tiger Woods who continued to practice early even though he was leading the field.
Too many Christians are sitting on the sideline with knowledge and skill and not using it for God’s kingdom.
No matter who we are we all have all calling, but when does God call us? Before the foundation of the world. While we were in our mother’s womb we were called. We accept the call when we walk in it.
Then it is our duty to put diligence into it and work hard for God’s kingdom. We may see the skill that God has given us in the calling but we can’t sit back and wait on God to just do everything. We have to work and make our skill better.