‘If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.’ — 2 Timothy 2:21
Various metaphors for the servant of the Lord are given in 2 Timothy 2 – soldier (v.3), athlete (v.4) and farmer (v.6). Each one illustrates character traits that those who serve the Lord should demonstrate – the toughness of a soldier, the discipline of an athlete and the hard work of a farmer.
These metaphors show us that there are many dangers to avoid as a servant of the Lord:
- Not being strong in the grace of Christ (v.1-3)
- Getting entangled in the affairs of this life (v.4)
- Being undisciplined (v.5)
- Not working hard (v.6)
- Failing to realise that suffering is inevitable (v.8-13)
- Getting involved in pointless and destructive arguments (v.14)
- Not studying or rightly interpreting the Word of God (v.15)
- Getting led astray into false doctrine and being influenced by false teachers (v.16-21)
- Giving in to youthful lusts (v.22)
- Not avoiding foolish questions that only lead to strife (v.23)
- Failing to gently teach all men in patience (v.24-26)
May God help us to have the right mindset as we serve the Lord. We are soldiers in a war, runners in a race, and farmers in a field. We have a wonderful Captain. We await a glorious trophy. And the fruits of our labour will be worth it.
But in the meantime, we must beware of many dangers and distractions. We must continue to look to the Lord for grace and strength. And we must keep our focus on Christ, His work, His example, and His Word.