“You can’t change them.”
I really can’t stand it when I have to say that to someone who’s going through a painful situation with a spouse, child, parent, or friend. The person I’m speaking to often wants some “silver bullet” to fire into the situation to make everything all better.
“But,” I have to say to them, “you can’t change them.”
But there is something we can do.
And it’s found in our passage today as we continue our journey through 2 Timothy.
The Apostle Paul had used two other examples to teach Timothy to stay the course: military and athletics. Now, he turns to a third illustration which begins to offer us a profound application.
In 2 Timothy 2:6, the Apostle Paul writes to young Timothy:
The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.2 Timothy 2:6
New International Version
Oftentimes in Scripture, the first share of crops is associated with “first fruits” which has to do with financial resources typically given to the Lord. This is not one of those examples.
The Apostle Paul is not addressing the salaries of Elders in the Church (At least if he is, it’s secondary to the thrust of the section.). He’s giving another example of what he’s been talking about: faithfulness to the mission of Jesus.
Here, the Apostle Paul is reminding Timothy the reward for serving the Lord well is a spiritual one. And Christians need this reminder because it’s easy to forget the Lord’s spiritual provision for us. We can get very caught up in this world and forget our role here is to bring others to Jesus.
There’s something else here, too. The Apostle writes the “farmer should be the first”. My emphasis is to remind us the spiritual blessings do not stop with us. Those who are influenced by our leadership in their lives are also blessed as well. We might receive it first, but they get the benefit of our faithfulness too!
There’s a profound application found here. We should eat the fruit of spiritual faithfulness first so those under our influence can also enjoy it.
Here’s what I mean: if I want people around me to be kind, I must eat the fruit of kindness first. If I want people around me to be diligent, I must eat the fruit of diligence first. If I want people around me to be generous, I must eat the fruit of diligence first.
What in your world needs to change? Are people around you negative? Self-centered? Greedy? Not Kingdom-minded? Then, you have the blessing of being part of the solution!
Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what fruit you need to eat first. From there, you are blessed by the harvest of those crops AND those around you will also begin to feel the spiritual benefit of your influence in these areas.
No…you can’t change “them”, but you can YOU. And YOU can bless them with the spiritual bounty of a crop of blessing in their lives.