This is what God gave me today in His word:
Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. (2 Timothy 2:3-6)
Share in Christ’s sufferings first, then in all you do aim to please God, then in all you do make sure to “compete according to the rules”. Once you’ve done all that, you can expect your reward… This is how the passage might apply to our lives. It has some obvious applications for pastors as well (it was, after all, written for a pastor: Timothy), but for now let’s focus on the impact it can have on our own lives.
Paul always make sure that the most important point comes first in his letters, and here is no different. He reminds Timothy to, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus ought, to share in Christ’s sufferings. Back then this could have been meant quite literally that Timothy was to be willing to share in Christ’s physical suffering. Even today, in certain parts of the World, this can have a physical meaning. However, for those who have been blessed with a life which isn’t currently being threatened, I believe it can also have a Spiritual meaning: i.e., that we should be willing to see and, in some small part, “feel” what Christ suffered on the cross, when He took our sin and guilt and shame upon Himself..
The next part of what Paul tells Timothy, says to not get involved with “civilian pursuits”, but aim to please God. This has rather obvious application to our own life: We should not allow anything to become more important in our life than doing all that we can to please God.
Paul’s next point, is that an athlete is only crowned when he competes according to the rules. This point perhaps applies a bit more to pastors than to others, as I believe Paul intended this to mean that pastors are to preach “according to the rules”; i.e. according to the “rules” the Bible sets out for pastors. That being said, it’s also quite important for us to obey the doctrines the Bible lays out for us.
Paul’s final point is that the “hard-working farmer” should get the first share from the crops. I believe this point was also intended rather more for pastors, as Paul is stating that a preacher that plants the seeds of the Gospel in his congregation, ought to be paid. However, it should also tell us non-pastoring people that we should indeed give at least something to our pastor. Most work quite hard to write and to preach sermons, and so long as those sermons include the power of God, they ought to be rewarded with money for their hard work.
You are Loved!