Lawful Athlete; Hardworking Farmer

February 17, 2021

2 Timothy 2:5-7

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.

Devotion

Yesterday we looked at what it meant to be a FAITHFUL STEWARD and a GOOD SOLDIER. Today we will look at the next two pictures that Paul presents. The third picture is that of a “LAWFUL ATHLETE.” Being in Rome, Paul would have known the importance of athletics in the Roman culture. Athletes competed in all sorts of competition. Depending on the competition, there would have been rules the competitors would have to follow or else be disqualified from the competition. In the same way, Paul is encouraging Timothy and us to run the Christian race in such a way that the One who is at the end of the race—the Lord Jesus—would be able to reward him and be able to say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:21). This means, in order to run this race well, we must play by the rules. There is no shortcut to spiritual maturity. God has given us the manual or rule book for running this race of life: The Word of God. Just as a runner cannot cut the corner of a racetrack, we cannot compete in this game of life by ignoring the precepts that God has given us. We must honor God by the way in which we compete. Just as self-discipline is required to compete in athletics, it is also required to run this race of life.

The next picture is that of the HARDWORKING FARMER. A farmer is one who tills the field and sows the seed. In the Christian realm, we work at sowing the seed of the Word of God. This means we must work hard at teaching and living out God’s Word in our daily lives. When a farmer works hard at tilling and sowing the field, he reaps a harvest. In the same way, as we cultivate relationships with others and sow the seed of God’s Word into their hearts, we will also reap a harvest. This is not a physical harvest but a spiritual harvest. Please notice the qualifying word in this text, “hardworking.” This means we must put forth full effort in this endeavor to sow the seed of God’s Word into the hearts of people. The prophet Isaiah wrote, “As the rain and the snow come down out of heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is My Word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” A faithful servant is also a HARDWORKING FARMER.

Questions to Ponder

Do you follow God’s playbook for life? How are you living out God’s Word today? Do you find it difficult to exercise self-discipline in your spiritual life? How are you sharing God’s Word with others? What kind of seeds are you planting? What kind of crops are you harvesting?

Prayer Points

  • Praise the Lord for The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14
  • Ask the Lord to grant you a greater desire for Him and His Word.
  • Picture the Lord meeting with You as you open up the Word of God.
  • Ask Him to help You remember what you read, live it out and share it with others.
  • Pray for our church family to not neglect our alone time with the Lord in prayer and reading His Word for ourselves.

Suggested Prayer
Oh Father, thank You for drawing us with cords of loving kindness. Thank You for being so intimate with each one of us that You want us to spend time with You in Your Word. I am asking that You would make each one of us like a tree that is planted by streams of living water, that our roots would go down deep in You. I am asking that each one of us would accept Your invitation to say Yes to You in the place of being in Your word daily. I pray this verse for myself and our beloved church family today: When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God Almighty Jeremiah 15:16. Cause Your Word to run swiftly in and through each one of us, I ask in the Name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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