COUNT THE COST … AND BE WILLING TO PAY IT! – HARDSHIPS AND REWARDS!
PAUL USES THREE PORTRAITS TO EXHORT TIMOTHY TO DEDICATE HIMSELF TO THE HARD WORK OF THE GOSPEL MINISTRY –
FOCUSED ON THE ULTIMATE REWARD
The Gospel Ministry is no picnic; not for the weak or faint of heart; not for those looking for an easy ride; not just a lot of food, conversation and golf;
For those who preach the whole counsel of God, there will be much hardship involved.
But in addition to the pain, inconvenience and hardships there should also be compensation and rewards – could be referring to the right to temporal compensation, but most likely the focus is on the heavenly crown.
I. (:3-4) A DEDICATED SOLDIER WHO SUFFERS HARDSHIP TO PLEASE HIS COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF
A. What Makes a Good Soldier?
1. Persevering through the Hardships of Warfare
Wiersbe: “Many people have the idea that the ministry is a soft job. Preachers are often the butt of jokes that suggest that preachers are lazy and should be ashamed of accepting their salaries. But a dedicated Christian minister is in a battle that requires spiritual endurance. (See Eph. 6:10ff)”
2. Functioning in Unity as a Disciplined Unit
Timothy is not alone in facing the hardships of battle
3. Remaining Loyal to your Commander and your Cause
“a good soldier of Christ Jesus”
B. His Motivation: “so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier”
Looking for that “Well done” from our Lord Jesus Christ
II. (:5) A DISCIPLINED ATHLETE WHO TRAINS AND COMPETES WITHIN THE RULES TO WIN THE PRIZE
A. What Makes a Champion Athlete?
1. Loves to Compete – “if anyone competes as an athlete”
2. “Competes according to the rules”
a. Applies to how he trains
b. Applies to how he participates
What “rules” does Paul have in mind for the Gospel ministry?
1 Cor. 3:10-15
B. His Motivation: Winning “the prize”
III. (:6) A DILIGENT FARMER WHO WORKS HARD AND WAITS PATIENTLY TO REAP THE FRUITS OF HIS LABOR
A. What Makes a Successful Farmer?
2. Patient – Has the long-term picture in view
willing to sacrifice immediate gratification for long-term reward
B. His Motivation: “the first to receive his share of the crops”
cf. how a teacher benefits most during his time of preparation and then passes on the fruits of his labors to others
Application to future reward as well as to possible financial remuneration for the ministry
“Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.”
Important to reflect on these principles and look to the Lord for full understanding.