"The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops." 2 Timothy 2:6


To prepare and equip Timothy for being a disciple of Jesus Christ, Paul concludes his analogy of a soldier and athlete with that of a farmer. He tells Timothy, "The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops." What is meant by that? 

In Galatians 6:7-8, Paul writes, "A man reaps what he sows. If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit." When it comes to our sinful natures, seed is normally designed for instant gratification, but in sowing to the Spirit, patience and perseverance are essential. In the next verse, Paul tells us, "So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up."

Farming is about perseverance, patience and daylong toil. The farmer ploughs his field, fertilizes the soil, plants the seed, and if nature does not do it for him, he waters the seed. If he came back the next day there would be nothing profitable to show for his work. In a week, there would still be nothing, and in a month, perhaps green shoots are breaking through the surface. But come back in six months and he has his harvest. Like the farmer, being a disciple of Christ involves perseverance and patience. 

Realistically, we know much of the Christian life is not glamorous. It is often hands on work that involves sacrifice and day long toil with obstacles and hardship hindering our progress. But in the hardships, we live in dependence upon God and sow to the Spirit, which is to draw upon the presence of Christ within us. The Sower is Jesus Christ, and He sows seed into the world to bear fruit for Him. This is a progressive work of the Holy Spirit, so we cannot expect to see immediate results. But as we keep sowing to the Sower, deriving our sustenance and strength from Christ, the seed will begin to produce its fruit. (See August 13 & 14 for explanation on the parable, “The Seed and the Soil”). 

Ephesus was a predominately pagan city with many resistant to the Gospel. Paul knew only too well Timothy would have plenty of obstacles and hardships ahead, but if he does not grow weary in doing good, he will reap a harvest. Paul’s instructions are invaluable to becoming a fruitful disciple for Christ. Endure hardship like a soldier; be disciplined like an athlete, compete according to the rules; and like a hardworking farmer, be patience and persevere. Do not give up and trust God for the harvest!


PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, help me to be a fruitful disciple for You. Keep me dependent on You, sowing to the Spirit, so that we may reap a harvest together. Thank You, Lord.

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