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.
Here Paul encourages Timothy to take the attitude of a soldier, an athlete, and a farmer.
The soldier willingly takes orders from his or her commander-in-chief. As a believer in Jesus, He is yours (Joshua 5.14). The soldier is brave, courageous, singularly focused on the task at hand, and gives all of himself or herself to the task right until the very end. A good soldier will not quit when things get tough, they will double-down and work even harder.
An athlete prepares rigorously for their chosen task. They take care of their bodies, they take care of their time, and they take care of their activities based on how they want to compete when the big day comes around. As a believer in Jesus, we ought to be doing the same; building our lives around the opportunity to compete for Him in a culture that seems to be detaching from objective truth faster and faster.
A farmer is hard-working and doesn’t seek external recognition. Just think – do you know who the best farmer in the world is? Do you know or follow on Instagram the world champion farmer? Didn’t think so…The farmer is hard-working, unassuming, but unrelenting in his or her approach and application to the task at hand. They value their flock/herd/land highly, and will stop at nothing to do what is best for whatever it is that they are caring for. As a believer, the work ethic of a hard-working farmer must be present in our lives.
If we are to join with the Lord and His pastors in teaching others (see yesterday – 2 Timothy 2.1-2) then we simply must be dedicated to His task like soldiers, we must be building our lives around Him like an athlete preparing for an event, and we must have the work ethic of a hard-working farmer to ensure that we leave no stone unturned in our witness.