Derek Smith, Lead Pastor LHBC 

2 Timothy 2:1-7
You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 2 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. 3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. 5 An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6 It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. 7 Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.

Paul is now at the end of his life and ministry. He’s in jail in Rome awaiting his opportunity to appeal to Caesar and share the gospel with him. In his last words to his son in the faith, Paul gives Timothy some simple yet profound instructions on how to live for Christ and do the work of ministry. He gives him three everyday examples of characteristics to apply to our walk with the Lord. 

The first example he gives here is that of a good soldier. I have the privilege of currently pastoring in a military town and it is such a blessing. I always did appreciate our soldiers, but I have gained a new found love and respect for them, their families, and for what they do. The soldier example here by Paul I believe is a call to mission. Soldiers are mission minded people. They train extensively, plan continually, and are ready at a moment’s notice to deploy and engage the enemy. Every day we are in a real battle with a real enemy, and we are told in Scripture to be ready and on the alert to do battle with him. The weapons of our warfare are spiritual not physical, and they include prayer, praise, and proclaiming the truth of God’s Word to others. As good soldiers of Jesus Christ we have one mission: glorify God by making disciples of Jesus Christ here and around the world. 

The second example he uses is that of an athlete, and specifically how athletes must compete according to the rules. Successful athletes are high discipline people who study their sport inside and out. They know the offensive strategies, defensive schemes, their opponent’s tendencies, and every detail of the rulebook. Following their example, we must discipline ourselves to godliness. We must get in God’s Word every day to know His game plan for life and the ground rules for living in order to honor Him. It should be our goal every day to win for Jesus! 

The third example is that of a farmer. I know this example first-hand through my grandfather. His name was Neal Smith and He was one of the hardest working men I ever knew. He loved and served the Lord and has passed on now, but He worked the ground on his farm all the way up until he died. I can still remember seeing him on that tractor up into his late 70’s out tilling up the soil in preparation to plant his crop. Farming is hard work. You have to till the soil, plant the seed, tend the crop, and harvest the produce. There are times during the harvest where the farmer may work from sunup to sundown just to get it in before a big rain or an impending frost. Child of God, don’t miss the imagery. May we be found laboring in God’s harvest field until Jesus comes again or we take our last breath. As long as there is breath in our lungs we should be found working for the Lord, not sitting on the sidelines. 

The good soldier, the victorious athlete, and the hard-working farmer: do these examples describe your commitment to Christ and His Church? Today, let’s remember our mission and go after it. Let’s get in the Word and obey it. Let’s get out in the field and work for the Lord. May we be found faithfully serving the Lord when He calls us home. 

Dear Lord, I am so unfaithful to You at times. Help me be sober and ready to defeat the enemy. Teach me Your Word and Your ways that I will glorify You. Put in me a fresh desire to labor for You. I long to see a harvest of people saved for your glory oh Lord. In Jesus name I pray, amen. 

1 Timothy 1:17
To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.