The Soldier, The Athlete and The Farmer
I purchased a gratitude chalkboard a couple years ago. This is a wall-mounted decorative chalkboard that houses a ledge at the bottom of the frame so I can always have a piece of old-fashioned chalk handy to use when I am stirred with so much thankfulness that I must write it down. I recall reading somewhere that if you fill your thoughts with gratitude, then there’s no room for the enemy to occupy your thoughts with negative and destructive emotions. On September 5, 2022, I wrote a message on my gratitude board. Customarily, I erase the words of thankfulness each day and write a new one. I got into the habit of doing this on a regular basis; my husband, at the end of each work day, consistently looked with curiosity, for my new entry. I think he was secretly checking it to see if I wrote, “I am thankful for my husband!”
What was different with this September entry, was that it was not words of gratitude; that day, it was a bible verse that came to mind and when it abruptly entered my thoughts, I was sure it was a message from God. The Bible verse was 2 Timothy 2:7. I quickly wrote it on my board (so I wouldn’t forget it) and went about my daily activities. Why didn’t I look it up right then and there? Why didn’t I just take the time to study His Word and understand why that verse came to mind? Why would a seemingly inapplicable bible verse stop me in my tracks? Why, in fact, would this verse STILL be on my board today?
I think it’s still there because at the time I wrote it, He knew I wasn’t ready to understand it yet. I can’t tell you how many times I have passed that board in my downstairs hallway, and asked myself, “Why don’t you erase that message and go back to writing your contemplations of gratitude on it?”
So today, I share my latest blog with you and I know without doubt, that the message on September 5, 2022 was intended for me to HEAR it on March 31, 2023, and then share it with you. I recall in the book of Isaiah, God reveals to His prophet:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9, NIV
We may not fully understand His ways, but we are told repeatedly in the Bible to trust, have faith and wait on the Lord.
So now you might be asking, “So, what does 2 Timothy 2:7 say?” This chapter was written by the apostle Paul to Timothy, a minister, who Paul was apparently mentoring and called him his “true son in the faith”. In this chapter, Paul is giving his disciple, words of encouragement; based on his experience with his walk with Jesus, he is fully aware of the strength and endurance needed to fulfill God’s calling.
You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 3 You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. 5 And also, if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.
6 The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops.
2 Timothy 2:1-6, NKJV
He continues with verse 7 (I have provided two versions below so the interpretation might be clear) and prophetically, it reads:
Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this. 2 Timothy 2:7, NIV
Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things. 2 Timothy 2:7, NKJV
I therefore share with you today, what I believe God intended long before I knew. What Paul was explaining above were three illustrations of what the Christian walk looks like. If you are a Christian, you know that the journey is not always easy. It requires perseverance. Paul compares the life of a soldier, an athlete and a farmer to illustrate what these professions have in common with our walk with Christ and if it ultimately bears fruit. Upon researching this verse that God gave me last September, I came across a bible commentary written by David Guzik. He shares this very insightful thought:
The soldier who stops fighting before the battle is finished will never see the victory.
The athlete who stops running before the race is over will never win the race.
The farmer who stops working before the harvest is complete will never see the fruit of his crops.
Paul stressed to Timothy the importance of perseverance and to wait and receive understanding from the Lord. God is faithful and will give us the grace to be strong! I also urge you, on your walk with Jesus, to pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance, direction and wisdom. Trust, that in due time, He will provide you with everything you need to get the job done.
So, I leave you with these passages below before I head over to my chalkboard to finally clean the slate so I can get ready for the next message He places on my heart.
24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.
Matthew 16:24-27, NKJV
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.
Isaiah 55:11, NIV
Through God’s Grace, Blessings, Love and Prayers,