Read 2 Timothy 2:4-7
4 Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life,for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. 5 And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. 6 And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor. 7 Think about what I am saying. The Lord will help you understand all these things. (NLT)
The images mentioned in this passage seem to have one thing in common: hard work. When you conjure up those images of soldiers,athletes,and farmers,you don’t imagine them sitting back in comfort enjoying the luxuries of life. Being a soldier,being an athlete,being a farmer,involves sticking at it even when things don’t look that good.
Of course there are moments of drama,and hopefully many moments of fun and pleasure. But to conceive of Christian life as one long relaxing party is to miss the point by a mile. Following Jesus is so often a matter of putting one foot ahead of the other and persevering. Doing the little things with love,making the mundane decisions with wisdom.
Soldiers,for example,spend long hours doing routine tasks. Not at all exciting. Not at all what we might call heroic. Athletes spend gruelling hours training and only moments in the public eye. Farmers have to wait for their crops to grow,if they grow at all.
None of this need discourage us. It merely reminds us that Christian faith is lived out in a landscape of the ordinary. With the difference that an extraordinary God is weaving his great purposes through our ordinary obedience.