“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 Tim 2:3-7
What have a soldier, athlete and a farmer have in common? Well not very much, except for the fact that Paul was deliberate in employing them as analogies in a single paragraph.
He meant to emphasis a single point – that they were focused individuals. In each of their roles, these individuals had to accomplish a purpose and to do so, they had to own that purpose.
Think about a soldier for moment. If he entangled himself with civilian pursuits like thinking of starting out a small business on his own and dreamt of retirement vacation trips every day, it would be difficult to please the one who enlisted him.
Ditto the athlete. His purpose is to win a medal, and to do so, he is cognisant of the rules of the game.
Ditto the farmer. His delight is in the enjoyment of the first fruits of his labour and to that end, he puts in effort to ensure that he gets to reap them.
What has the Lord purposed you to accomplish?
Soldier on to please Him. Run to win. Sow that you will reap.