Do you know any soldiers, professional athletes, or farmers? What makes these jobs so hard?
Being a Christian can feel really hard at times. In fact, when Paul talks to Timothy about being a Christian he compares it to three of the hardest jobs on earth. Listen to what Paul says here and see if you can hear the three jobs:
2 Timothy 2:3-7. 3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. 5 An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6 It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. 7 Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.
There’s a reason why most people don’t become soldiers, athletes, or farmers. All three of these jobs require a lot of strength, and a whole lot of patience in suffering. Professional soldiers, athletes, and farmers work physically harder than most people. And they are never promised that everything will go their way. Their jobs can be very uncertain, can’t they?
Paul is letting Timothy know that being a Christian is similar to these three jobs. It’s hard to love like Jesus. It’s hard to tell others about God. It’s not easy to be a good example for your little brother or sister. It’s difficult to always trust God and want to obey him. No, not physically hard like being a soldier, or an athlete, or a farmer. But spiritually it is hard on the inside of us. We often want to quit trusting God and quit being kind to others. I know I do.
But what makes a soldier, an athlete, or a famer strong? They work or train hard. They look forward to something – the trophy, or the harvest. And they have someone they want to please. Paul tells Timothy to be a strong Christian. To work hard and be pleasing to God. But listen to where our strength comes from for being a Christian:
2 Timothy 2:1. You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus,
As Christians our strength comes from GRACE. The grace that is in Christ Jesus. Grace that forgives all of our sins. Grace that gives us God’s love no matter what. Grace that promises us a home with Jesus forever. Grace that says that everything will work out in the end. And when we trust in this amazing grace, then we will be able to be strong enough, through Jesus’ love, to be kind and nice to others. We will be strong enough to respect and love our families and friends, and even our enemies.
Because of Jesus we are constantly strengthened by God’s grace.
With Jesus we can do hard things like love others, and share the good news.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Do some exercises together. Lift weights or do a push up or sit ups. Talk about how these things make us physically strong. But God’s grace makes us spiritually strong. Like doing exercises over and over to get strong physically, we have to keep trusting God’s grace over and over to be strong spiritually.
Your grace gives me strength to be kind and share you with others. Help me to trust your love for me today and show that same love to those around me.
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