Journal Entry ~ 09/26/17

1 You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus,
2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.
3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.
5 An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.
6 It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.
7 Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. - 2 Timothy 2:1-7

This is our last day in this passage, and I’m not sure I’m ready to leave it. There is just so much more here to learn and meditate on.  Paul uses the analogy of a farmer as his 4th comparison to instruct Timothy about the hard work he must endure. We all know farmers are hard workers - they’re up before dawn and are engaged in physical labor until dusk. So, the surface level comparison here is that we will have to work hard at our faith, we will endure trials and challenges, there will be opposition in our lives, but we must continue to press on, pushing ourselves to grow in our faith. But here, he tells Timothy that it is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. This caused me to pause when I first read it because I know we’re instructed in other parts of scripture to give God our first fruits. When I reflect on it, though, what I think he’s getting at here is the fact that it's the hardworking farmer that gets the harvest. For us, this means we cannot just go to church or small group once a week and have someone else do all the hard work, then expect to be able to take what we need when we need it.  We have to do the hard work ourselves to be able to reap the harvest of blessings from His Word.  We need to do the hard work of getting into scripture every day to be able to draw on His strength, His comfort, and His wisdom. Remember the fable of The Little Red Hen?  She was the only one who worked on the harvest, yet the other animals want to eat when she was finished baking the cake. I think that’s the principle here. We each need to do the hard work. We are starting a new bible study tonight in small group. If we're being honest, many of us have been part of bible studies in the past, but we haven't done the hard work of the daily study, then we wonder why we're not reaping the same benefits as the people who are leaning and and doing the hard work every day. If you put in the work, you will be able to enjoy the harvest. But if you don’t, you will continue to be hungry for His blessings.

It’s that last line of this passage that’s is sticking with me this morning, though, so I want to spend a minute on it before we leave this passage.  “Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.”  He is calling us to meditate on His Word - that’s how we achieve understanding. So many of us struggle to understand why certain things are the way they are in our lives, yet here He gives us the answer to our greatest questions: think over what He says and He will give you understanding. The trials and challenges of our lives make more sense when we view them through the wisdom of the scripture. I just had a beautiful conversation yesterday with a woman about the importance of meditation on Scripture in our lives - that time to quietly reflect is a rare and precious commodity in today’s world. Everything about our culture presses us toward accomplishing more by filling our schedule with responsibilities. Stop. That’s not the hard work He’s talking about us taking on with the farmer principle. Take the time to be still and reflect on God and His Word every  single day. It’s only in these quiet moments that He can give you the wisdom you need. How could He possibly give you wisdom when you’re physically and mentally exhausted from trying to keep up with your schedule?  He can’t. Slow down and take the time to reflect on His Word every day - be still with Him, and you will find all the strength you need to face your day. 

This cancer diagnosis has allowed me much more time to sit and reflect on so many things with God. I have never been a person who sits idle well. I derive so much of my identity and my value from what I accomplish, but those are my idols. My identity and my value need to  come only from being a daughter of the King. Anything on my schedule other than this time with Him falls secondary. I am so thankful for the way He has worked in my life in the few short weeks since my diagnosis, slowing me down and giving me wisdom by opening my eyes to what is truly important. 

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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