Paul, writing to his young protégé Timothy says, “…be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:1 ESV). The Greek word endunamou translated as “strengthened” can also be translated as “empowered,” “be empowered by the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” This strength, this empowerment, is a divine gift bestowed upon us only by Jesus Christ.
What is it that we are empowered to do? In the next verse, Paul tells Timothy to entrust the Gospel to faithful men who will be able to teach others. While we are many generations removed from Paul’s instruction to Timothy, the imperative to proclaim the Gospel falls upon us as well. We are empowered to teach the Good News to faithful men so that they may teach it to others!
Paul warns Timothy that faithful soldiers in Christ’s army should expect hardship (v. 3). The work of ministry is not a “soft” job for the weak-hearted. Paul uses three metaphors; that of a soldier, an athlete, and a farmer to describe what is needed as we serve in Christ’s army.
Soldier. The soldier has a single-minded focus on the mission. They exhibit rigorous discipline and unquestioning obedience to their commanding officer.
Athlete. The athlete competes to win a prize but to win they must compete according to the rules. An athlete who is undisciplined and breaks the rules is disqualified from the competition.
Farmer. The farmer is hard-working. They work all year preparing the soil, planting the seed, and caring for the crop. The farmer must be hard-working, patient, and disciplined to reap a harvest.
Serving in ministry requires the single-minded focus and discipline of a soldier, the commitment of an athlete to train and abide by the rules God has set down, and the determination to work hard and be patient like the farmer in order to reap the ultimate harvest!
It is no wonder that Paul tells Timothy that he is empowered by the grace of Christ because certainly, no one can accomplish such work on his or her own power!
Some of you may be thinking that this applies to the “professionals” in ministry, but that is just not the case! The Scripture says that we are called to be servants, ministers of the Gospel. Your pastor has 30-60 minutes a week to present a message to an audience that is largely already in the boat. But as a minister in the marketplace, you have 40-60 hours per week where your ministry is a light before men. And your audience of co-workers is likely comprised of people who need to hear the message of Christ. So develop the single-minded focus of the soldier, the commitment of an athlete, and the discipline of the farmer empowered by the grace of God to reach and teach others the Good News!
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As always questions and comments are welcome. What experiences have you had as a minister in the workplace? What difficulties have you encountered? What success has God brought you?
Category: Skills | Empowerment