After using the imageries of a dutiful soldier and a disciplined athlete, Paul now considers the imagery of a diligent farmer.
2 Tim 2:6 reads, “The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.”
While all three imageries share common aspects of purpose, process, priority, posture, and prize, Paul introduces a dimension only peculiar to the farmer. The farmer must continually put his faith in God to provide rain at its proper time.
While it may be true that the soldier may not please his commanding officer and the athlete may not win the crown, the farmer has arguably the least control over the outcome of his hard work. The dutiful soldier who obediently follows all instructions is likely to win favour from his commanding officer. The athlete who trains hard can reasonably expect some prize, but the farmer who works hard day and night may see his entire crop damaged by locusts or ruined by drought. In other words, there is a greater element of faith for the farmer because he must trust God.
Since faith cannot be measured like one’s temperature, the best way we can ascertain our faith is when we undergo trials. The way we respond to trials is the best way to gauge our faith.
Questions for Reflection:
When trials hit us hard, do we grumble and complain? Or have we learnt to give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thess 5:18)?