Paul begins chapter 2 with his restatement of our disciple-making mission, “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.”
In order to lead others to follow Jesus, we need strength and grace. We also need focus. Paul uses six metaphors in chapter 2 to illustrate the focus and diligence we need to teach others to live and share the gospel.
The first three metaphors are found in verses 1-7.
We need the dedication of soldiers, the integrity of athletes and the hard work of farmers.
As we reflect the gospel personally and teach the gospel to others, we must engage in this task well.
If soldiers can be dedicated to their commanding officer to the point of suffering and death, then followers of Jesus must be equally dedicated to their Lord and Savior.
If athletes can compete according to the rules in order to win, then followers of Jesus must faithfully train themselves and others in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
If farmers can labor early, long and late in order to have fruitful crops, then followers of Jesus must labor in the strength and grace of Christ and expend themselves for the gospel.
Each of these metaphors implies focus.
Soldiers, athletes and farmers are judged based on short moments of glory: the battle for the soldier, the event for the athlete and the crops for the farmers.
But the quality of those fleeting moments is forged by their focus during the drudgery of suffering, preparation and hard work.
May we be so focused on the gospel.