GOSPEL WORK IS HARD WORK
Show me how to be devoted to You, my God.
Read 2 Timothy 2:1–13
The Appeal Renewed
2 You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. 3 Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. 5 Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. 7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.
8 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
11 Here is a trustworthy saying:
If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
12 if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
13 if we are faithless,
he remains faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat are some of the hardest occupations? Which jobs require discipline, focus, perseverance and hard labor?
Think about what would be in a job description for a soldier, an athlete and a farmer. What qualities do each of them need?
Paul here uses these occupations to paint a picture of what qualities Timothy needs for his ministry. The soldier is single-minded, focused purely on obeying and serving his commander. The athlete is disciplined, hard-working and law-abiding. The farmer is patient, diligent and invested. These are the qualities Timothy needs to do his work.
All of these jobs have the hope of glory in the end—the work pays off. The soldier is on the winning side, the athlete gains the victor’s crown, the farmer reaps a harvest. Hard work now but glory later. This is how Paul is encouraging Timothy in this section of the letter, telling him Gospel work is hard work but in the end it will be more than worth it.
In verse 8 he shows this shape of ministry in the life of the Lord Jesus—the King who went through death to receive his crown. And Paul also endures now in the sure and certain hope of eternal glory in the end (10).
How can you have this perspective as you serve Jesus? Do you need to “train” in the faith like an athlete or a soldier? Choose some godly disciplines like prayer and worship to practice today.
Pray that you would know that though Gospel work is hard work, it brings eternal glory.