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.
Just as a soldier, athlete and farmer. To get it right they have to continue to work.
The final piece of the puzzle is the anointing. When you have all three, God’s calling, our diligence (hard work) and God’s anointing then you see awesome results.
What is the differences?
Notice the progression. Soldier then Athlete, then Farmer.
A soldier can be just about anyone. The main thing they need is training.
Not everyone can be a great athlete in any area. It would be almost impossible to take a person who is built large and turn them into a sprinter. So people are fit for certain duties and calling and purpose.
Finally the farmer is the least of the three dependant on skill. There is a measure of skill but there is a lot of faith that depends on the Lord.
God wants us to operate in all three.
There are times he just wants us to be a soldier. Hold to what we believe and move forward. Sometimes bull headed. We do have to chose our battles carefully.
Other times we are athletes. Take our skill we make it better then we just compete and fulfill our calling. Specifically designed for us.
The final area is the farmer. In this we sow but we let God do the rest. We may plant, we may water, yet God gives the increase.
(7) Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.
In other words. Think about what I just told you, there is more here. Pray about this and let the Lord give you insight in how it relates to your own life.