Daily Office Readings for Wednesday of the 5th Week of Epiphany: Year 1
“Share in suffering like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving in the army gets entangled in everyday affairs; the soldier’s aim is to please the enlisting officer. And in the case of an athlete, no one is crowned without competing according to the rules. It is the farmer who does the work who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in all things.” (2nd Timothy 2: 3 to 7)
Paul uses three ancient examples in society from among many that still exist today to show that being dedicated to a venture or vocation means some degree of sacrifice. He uses the military (something I can resonate with), and sports participants (like the penalties at the Super Bowl), and farming (that love of growing things). All require endurance and dedication to the end. There are more ventures and vocations that require this kind of dedication, and most especially, Christianity. I think this is the point that Paul was trying to make.
Maybe when we embark upon a vocation we should first consider the costs of discipleship. Every venture brings its own drawbacks and risks. This might be a good time to consider the “pros and cons” of what we are considering. Whatever path of Christianity we follow, Paul says “the Lord will give you understanding in all things.”
The military could bring about the end of one’s life on earth. The athlete could play for many years and never reach the pinnacle of achievement for his or her chosen sport. Farmers could put in a lot of blood, sweat, tears and toil and then suffer a dry season with little or no rain, losing everything. Christianity, however, brings with it Eternal Life for all participants! For me, nothing can beat that. And guess what? There is room for all who join. If I never get to meet you here, I’ll see you there!
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to, and through, the saints of God, and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John