Be Strong

Today’s reading gives us the patterns of a Godly man.  Paul is exhorting Timothy to “be strong” (v1), but Paul doesn’t stop there.  He gives us relatable examples of what it means to “be strong”.  

Paul gives us the example of the teacher, the soldier, the athlete, and the farmer, then he commissions Timothy to  “think over what [he said]”.  The examples are not long and exhaustive but Paul promises Timothy that “the Lord will give [him] understanding in everything” if he thinks over it.  (2Timothy 2:7)  

A wise man once said, “better to read little and think much than to read much and think little.”  Today’s journal entry includes some thoughts and reflections on these short powerful examples.  I would love if you would share some of yours in the comments or on facebook.   

The Teacher.  Christ instructed us to teach His commandments to all nations and modeled this for us through discipleship. (Matthew 28:20) . Discipleship is a chain.  Position yourself in the chain, between someone who will disciple you and who you can disciple.  Those you disciple should be carefully selected people who are faithful and trustworthy to carry on the chain.  (2Timothy 2:2)

The Soldier.  We are at war.  The soldier is not confused about work-life balance.  The two are integrated and his purpose is singular.  Full of integrity, his life is whole and complete.  There are no situations in which he changes modes or leaves something behind.  There is no clocking out.  A soldier at war is always on active duty.  He does not concern himself with things of the world.  His eye is single in the battle and pleasing his commander.  (2Timothy 2:3-4)

The Athlete.  It is a given that athletics require effort.  Even though some athletes have incredible natural abilities, fans tend to cheer on an underdog who gives it his all over the more skilled athlete who doesn’t.  Fans tend to gravitate to athletes who are ok with giving it their all and being beaten, even if it means everyone knows they could not have done any better or given an ounce more effort.  An athlete looks at the cost of defeat and competes anyways.  Humble athletes are fun to watch.  Still, even though effort is a given for athletics, no matter the effort expended, if the athlete breaks the rules he is disqualified.  (2Timothy 2:5)  

The Farmer.  The farmer is hard working.  This word is from a Greek verb meaning ‘to labor to the point of exhaustion.’  Day in, day out the farmer works amidst circumstances outside their control.  The farmer can not control the water, the bugs, the temperature, the sun, the clouds, or the shifting seasons, yet he works to the point of exhaustion in hopes that he might reap a harvest.  A farmer is truly seasoned in the art of sowing to the LORD and trusting Him with the harvest.  (2Timothy 2:6)

May we all continue to think over the Scripture and trust in the LORD to give us understanding.

Reading quote reference: Mastering Self: To Lead Self and Others by Chief Hanna

Are you ready to finish what you started?

24 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. 25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?  Matthew 10:24-25

“It is enough…”.  A true disciple wants nothing more than to be like his Master.  Jesus did not have much in the world in terms of tangible things.  He was born in a barn.  As an adult, He did not have a home and all the ‘important’ people hated him.  They wanted to kill him and they did.  Yet Jesus had all the intangible things. Do we want more than what Jesus had?

“…how much more…”  Given that a true disciple does not want to surpass his Master, Jesus gives a warning to those thinking they may want to follow him.  The warning is clear, as you become more like Christ, people will treat you more like He was treated.  How do we want to be treated?  

In addition to how others will treat us, Jesus gives other warnings to those who considered following him.  Knowing the heart of each, perhaps Jesus tailored the warnings.  Do we relate to any? 

Comfort

In Matthew 8:19-20 the scribe who said he would follow Jesus is told that following Him would mean forgoing a life of comfort.  A home is the baseline of comfort.  

Inheritance

In Matthew 8:21-22 one that would follow Jesus is told that following would mean forgoing his inheritance.  Following Jesus, for this scribe, may mean a life without the wealth of his family and perhaps one full of dependence.  “Allow me to bury my father” is another way of saying, I’ll be back once he’s died and I’ve received all that is coming to me.

Family

Later in Matthew chapter 10 verses 34 thru 37 (Matthew 10:34-37), Jesus teaches that following him will mean being ready to depart from family.

Counting the Cost

Jesus made sure we knew the cost of following Him and the importance of counting the cost so we could finish what we started and receive our reward. (Luke 14:25-34, Matthew 13:45-46, 2Timothy 4:6-8, Galatians 6:9).  

Counting the cost of being a Christian means being willing to give up seeking approval and popularity, status and the favor of men, comfort, an inheritance, and even family.  

Counting the cost of being a Christian means being ready to trade all these things for eternal promises.  Not just some.  Here is a promise God made in Matthew chapter 10.  

He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. – Matthew 10:39

Oh God, that we might trust You with all. You are good and You alone are worthy of all our trust LORD. Amen.

 

Painting: Christ Calling His First Disciples – Adam Brenner (1800–1891)