“Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.” — 2 Timothy 2:3-4
In 2 Timothy 2:3-6, Paul gives us examples of three individuals: the solider, the athlete and the farmer. Three very different occupations, but all three require many of the same characteristics and quality traits to be successful.
Soldier: My mind automatically goes to the Marine Corps or basic training — young men and women away from home for the very first time. Boys becoming men. Girls becoming women. Children becoming adults. They spend their time learning discipline, physical and mental toughness, sacrifice and hard work. I think of the three-mile runs and push-ups at 5 a.m. I think of the drill sergeant barking orders and instructions. These young soldiers are learning the importance of listening carefully and intently to instructions, and then obeying those instructions or orders ultimately to prepare them for battle, for war. These brave young men and women will one day be responsible for protecting our country — protecting me and you.
Athlete: I think of determination, discipline and sacrifice. The Olympic athlete who spends hours on the track or in the pool to compete at the highest level of their sport. We may see just seconds of their routine or race, but these athletes have sacrificed hours upon hours training for their performance. They know the importance of consistency in their diet and training, as well as the importance of being honest and adhering to the rules and guidelines while competing.
Farmer: By far one of the most difficult occupations. Characteristics of hard work and sacrifice initially enter my mind. The dairy farmer who’s up at 4 a.m. to milk the cows. The farmer who spends hours planting and watering the seeds and crops. The disappointment of a drought. The determination of not quitting when insects or animals destroy their fruits or vegetables. The many lessons the farmer learns and knows about “sowing and reaping.” The reward that the farmer and his or her family will one day get to enjoy. Farmers must work for that reward.
God wants us to have the character of these three individuals: the soldier, the athlete, the farmer. It’s important as we evaluate and assess our Christian life to notice the quality traits they possess. The characteristics of hard work, sacrifice, discipline and determination. As true followers of Christ, may we possess these quality traits as we live our lives for the honor and glory of Jesus.
Prayer: “Dear God, thank You for the example of the soldier, the athlete and the farmer. I pray that I would possess the quality traits of discipline, determination and sacrifice as I strive to live for You.”
— Jim Good
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