The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. 2 Timothy 2:6 (NIV).
This verse, along with the previous ones, should be considered all together to get their full impact. Together, verses 1-6 say “You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.”
Think of it this way: keep your eye on the ball because the reward for this is better than anything else you can imagine.
Sometimes I wonder where I fit in. I’m working at my fifth company in three years. To be honest, that sometimes shakes my confidence, especially when your work is done or the client moves in a new direction. The reasons for moving around so much are many, but they all end at this place: I’m currently employed at a great company, and I’m so thankful for it. Yet even here, after so many moves, even when I’m thankful to be working and working where I am, I wonder where I fit in.
I wonder if farmers feel that way. It must be a challenge to stay motivated to get up every day and work patiently at growing crops, husbanding animals, and maintaining your homestead. It’s good work, peaceful work, rewarding work I’m sure. But it must also be frightening at storm times, or when the rains come too early, too much, too little or late. Athletes prepare for competition; farmers prepare for the harvest (and then for the rest months, and then planting, weeding, and the next harvest). Like athletes who are always preparing for the next competition, or consultants who are always implementing the last version of software in anticipation of the next future implementation, farmers prepare now for the next harvest and the times after that.
Sort of like Jesus did for us, preparing us now for the next harvest after this life. That means we need to heed Him, let ourselves be prepared, and keep our eyes on the ball of His presence, His teaching in our lives; let Him reward us as He sees best. It prepares us now for both living here in the fallen world and the harvest in heaven when the full crop of His believers are brought together in eternal praise and celebration. THAT is the place we’ll fit in best.
For further reading: 1 Corinthians 9:10, 2 Timothy 2:7.
Awesome “farmer” Jesus, prepare me now, I pray, to serve You better.