by the Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven
In September we read Paul's letter to Titus and his very last letter, called 2 Timothy. Paul's concern is that the true gospel be preserved and proclaimed by a faithful church.
2 Timothy 2:3–7
No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs.... An athlete ... competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops (2 Tim. 2:4–6).
Three illustrations teach how Christian ministers ought to conduct themselves.
Just as soldiers must be entirely at the disposal of their commanders, so teachers of the Word cannot afford to be entangled in other affairs. They must be devoted to the campaign.
Athletes must stick to the rules of the game, or they will be disqualified. In the same way, ministers must accept all the obligations of their calling.
And just as hardworking farmers are the first to profit from their harvest, so hardworking gospel preachers are entitled to the first rewards. Paul does not explain what rewards he has in mind, but his point is that without hard work there are no rewards.
These verses don't address only full-time ministers and evangelists. The Christian church does not stand or fall by the services of paid professionals—thank God! All Christians are called to ministry. And all must know that Christian service requires single-minded devotion, like a soldier; strict observance of God's rules for the game, like an athlete; and a lot of plain, hard work, like a farmer.
Our work can bring marvelous rewards: the approval of the Commander, the garland of the winner, and the first share of the crop. May God deliver us from laziness and slothfulness as we do the business of the King.
Andrew Kuyvenhoven's Daylight, a modern devotional classic, was originally published in 1994. This edition is copyright by Faith Alive Christian Resources, from whom may be ordered Daylight, the predecessor of Twilight.
A man of many accomplishments, Andrew Kuyvenhoven is probably best known for his contributions to Today (formerly The Family Altar), a widely-used monthly devotional booklet associated with the Back to God Hour. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations for this edition of Twilight are from the New International Version