Athlete, Set Your Pace by the Farmer
2 Timothy 2:6 (NASB)
The hard-working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops.
My dad worked the family farm with horses as a teenager. By the time he retired, he was operating massive machinery equipped with GPS, heat and air conditioning. It was still long hours in any weather. If productive farmers are known for anything, it is their hard work, seven days a week.
Farmers operate under two requirements to produce a crop. First, they have to embrace the hard work needed to plow, plant, fertilize, cultivate and harvest. Second, they have to rely on God to provide the sun, warmth and rain for any of it to germinate and grow to maturity.
A relationship with Christ begins by faith, not by our work. But, our growth in Christ involves some work: time in the Scriptures, fellowship with other believers and engagement in ministry to others.
A young NFL quarterback stopped me after a training camp Bible study late one night. He had known Christ for a few years, but had spent little time building his faith. Now the pressure, fatigue and fear of failure were overwhelming. He hung his head in regret as he admitted the lack of confidence to rely on God or find help in the Scriptures.
The share of the crop that we receive from our work in growing spiritually is priceless. The return for one’s hard work includes a stronger endurance for hard times, wisdom for living and sensitivity to God’s leading.
God transforms us by the “fruit of the Spirit” that He produces in our lives – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness … (Galatians 5:22,23). Add to that the influence we can have in others’ lives, and how it changes them.
Don’t hold back—the return is greater than the work!
Tom Petersburg, www.catapultministries.org