By Katie Pearson
“For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:6-8
Throughout 2 Timothy, Paul charges Timothy to persevere in multiple areas, including suffering, teaching, handling opposition, and confronting false teachers. When I step back and look at the scope of responsibility that Paul expects Timothy to shoulder, I feel weary. Who has the strength to live up to such a task? As leaders, how are we expected to handle such a heavy load that requires so much of us physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally? The truth is that none of us do, at least not in our own strength.
To read this letter without the Holy Spirit is to see only a job description with little incentive. But it's more plausible when we reframe it as a calling from God, to be fulfilled in his power and strength. Yet, even if we, as leaders, begin to believe success is possible, what motivation do we have to endure so much at great cost to ourselves and our families? Why would we willingly choose a challenging path that offers little tangible reward?
The answer is simple but profoundly important: We don’t serve as kingdom leaders based on what we do, where we do it, or how we do it. We devote our lives to our calling because we have a Caller who has issued a request from heaven that only we can fulfill. It’s whom we serve that will enable us to persevere until the end. “Therefore [we] endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Timothy 2:10).
So, on the days when leadership goes well, and you fall in bed with a deep soul satisfaction, give thanks for the power and authority you have in Jesus Christ to serve on the front lines. And, when you wake up in the morning dreading another day, plant your feet on the ground with determination and accept your marching orders because ministry is a “get-to” for the King himself. Don’t forget who you serve and why, and your life will be a testimony reaching into eternity.
Respond: Lord Jesus, I want nothing more at the end of my life than to hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Grant me the power of your name and Spirit that I might serve you with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength for all the days you give me on earth. Amen.
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