Wednesday, February 9, 2011
You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 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. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. 2 Timothy 2:1-7
This passage from Timothy always reminds me of Shirley Temple. Her widower father has to go off to war and her leaves her at a girls boarding school as only the rich can contrive. As her father is leaving, she promises him that she will be a good little solider. Pouting and teary, she finds a way to draw her whole self up and give her Daddy a smile. Her life turns harsh when her father goes missing and stops sending her tuition. She is moved to the attic with the servants and has to ponder the loss of love. She is always generous and kind despite the cruelty of the adults and children around her. They hurt her with words and blows. She never gives up on love and remembers the words of her father at all times.
Paul writing to his partner in ministry, reminds him to hold fast in hard times. Paul is in prison and Timothy's faith is flagging in the face of abuse, cruelty and the worst of politics. Paul reminds him of the love he bears and the grace which is his in Jesus. Despite the worst abuse, Christ is with him, transforming his despair into hope. He reminds him that the circumstances he finds himself in are but temporary and God is in control of the final rewards.
Today, I ask God to strengthen me with grace, to give me a heart and mind of forgiveness and compassion. In the face of hard times, I pray that we can all be good soldiers, knowing we are following him who gave his life that we might live.