My favorite book to teach in our church’s Bible school is 2 Timothy. There is something about an abandoned Paul, cold and alone, that moves me to tears as I read his reflections on pastoral ministry and his affection for Jesus.
- A good soldier suffers, and Paul had fought the good fight (vv.3-4).
- An athlete competes according to the rules, and Paul had finished the race (v.5).
- A farmer receives the first fruits of his crops, and Paul had kept the faith (v.6).
Many of us see how “fighting” and “running” can be the work of an evangelist. Often there are tangible, immediate results, and we can look back at our own efforts and see how hard we worked to spread the kingdom.
But there is something about “keeping the faith” that Paul would call the victory of a farmer.
This year, may we be pastors who believe that waiting for the seeds we have planted to bring forth fruit is part of our attainment, even if it takes our whole lives.
Prayer + Reflection
- Where in your life do you see waiting as a failure instead of as the faithful work of an evangelist? Confess those examples to God.
- If you were approaching death while still waiting for seeds of evangelism to sprout, would you still have faith that God would grow a crop? Ask God for more faith.
- How does waiting intersect with the full gospel as we wait for healings, salvations, baptisms and Jesus as our Soon-Coming King?