Hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labour. 2 Timothy 2:6
Paul was well aware of what a hard job it was to be a Christian leader. When he wrote to the Corinthians, he told them he was “pressed on every side by troubles”. He knew what it was to be perplexed, hunted down and to live in constant danger of death (2 Corinthians 2:4-11). He didn’t want Timothy to have any illusions about the challenges that would face him and, so, having compared his ministry to that of a soldier and an athlete, he now points to the example of a hardworking farmer. All farmers are focused on bringing in a good harvest, but they only achieve it if they put in months of really hard work.
This is a good reminder for us all. There is something in all of us which would like God’s work to be easy and straightforward. We would prefer everyone to be co-operative, helpful and smiling. But if you have ever been involved in a local church, you will know that it is not always like that. It is often difficult to find people to do all the jobs that need doing. People are not necessarily as easy to work with as one would like. In addition, we are living with ever-increasing legal responsibilities. We need safeguarding measures in place to protect children and vulnerable adults, and clear responsibilities to account for our finances. All of these requirements are entirely appropriate and wise, but no one could deny that they are hard work. Paul’s message is that we shouldn’t ever be surprised that working for God is demanding. That was precisely his experience.
But, at the same time, we shouldn’t be surprised at the incredible blessings for those who put in the hard work. Farmers are the first people to enjoy their own crop and, as Christians, we have the incredible joy of being first on the scene to enjoy the blessing of seeing people’s lives changed and renewed by God.
Do you find it hard work being involved in your church? If so, how do you cope with it?
Loving God, thank you for the privilege of working for you. Help me never to be grumpy, surprised or resentful when it is hard doing what you have called me to do. Amen