by Piero Gorriti, ATS Graduate Intern
“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. 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. Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am sufferingeven to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
Here is a trustworthy saying:
If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
if we are faithless,
he remains faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.” - 2 Timothy 2:1-13
This passage give us three images: a soldier, an athlete and a farmer. There is many factors that surrounds the lives of these three persons. From preparedness and training for the soldier and athlete to a diligent work that had to be carried by the farmer in order to bear fruits. In these three images there is suffering and hard work.
As a soldier one has to be ready to fight against the enemy, the world, and the flesh in order to share Christ and to please the one that enlisted us (God) (v.14). As an athlete one has to “play by the rules” in order to be crowned victorious (v.15). We cannot cheat God and take “shortcuts” or try to do our own will believing that we are doing God’s will by following our desires, God wants us to play by the rules.
Finally in v. 16, Paul says that the hard working farmer will bear fruit. God wants us to work hard, to do our best as humans and let God take care of the impossibles, Sufferings in life are inevitable. Paul said that we should share Christ even in the suffering, because His grace and love should be enough. Do not let us forget the words of Paul in verse 11, 12, and 13: If we are death with Him, we will live with Him; if we suffer, we will also reign with Him… If we were faithless, He remains FAITHFUL.
Do not let the sufferings of life distract you, but let the comfort of His grace, eternal salvation, and FAITHFULNESS be your guide for sharing the good news.