Occupations Similar to a Preacher II Tim. 2:1-7 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Paul instructed Timothy about those things in which he should be occupied. He compared Timothy’s work to four other occupations to illustrate to Timothy how he should conduct himself in the ministry. Each of these occupations takes strength and endurance, so Paul started off this passage by telling Timothy to “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” You can’t do the work of the ministry properly in your own strength. You must be strengthened by the all-sufficient grace of God [2 Cor 12:9-10].
The four occupations comparable to the work of a preacher are:
Teacher – 2 Tim 2:2 – Pastors must be able to teach [Eph 4:11; 1 Tim 3:2; 2 Tim 2:24]. Timothy was to teach faithful men what Paul taught. Notice these specific instructions:
- Teach what Paul taught among many witnesses. We are, therefore, to teach all the counsel of God [Acts 20:27]. Paul taught what God revealed to him [Gal 1:11-12]. Paul taught the Old Testament [Rom 15:4; 1 Cor 10:11]. We are not to teach some off-shoot doctrine; but rather, what Paul taught everywhere he went [many witnesses]. And we are not to teach what someone else supposes Paul taught; but rather, what he actually taught.
- Teach faithful men. Teaching is part of the ministry. However, devote a great deal of time to teaching others who are faithful. These are the folks who are going to devote themselves to what you teach them. And don’t merely teach them. Commit these things to them. Help them to understand that they are charged with the responsibility of safeguarding them.
- Teach men who can teach others. The whole point of teaching faithful men is that they can teach the same things they have been taught to the next generation of preachers. Notice the generations in this verse. Paul (1) taught Timothy (2) who was to teach faithful men (3) who would teach others (4).
Soldier – 2 Tim 2:3-4 – being a preacher is like being a soldier; it’s hard work and you must endure it. You don’t see this militaristic attitude in modern Christianity. We are soldiers of Jesus Christ [1 Cor 9:7]. Therefore, he is the commander and we must follow his orders completely. You must be under his authority [Matt 8:9] and under the authority of the words of God. We must obey them. You will never be over those who are under you until you are under those who are over you. We must be expert with our weapons of war and armor [Eph 6:10-18; 2 Cor 10:3-4]. We must not be afraid to fight [1 Tim 6:12; 2 Tim 4:7].
To be engaged in the fight, you can’t be entangled with the affairs of this life. You must tend to the affairs of this life but don’t get entangled [stuck in a business venture, tied down with debt, overcome with family obligations, etc.]. That’s like getting tangled up in rolls of barbed wire that protect the enemy’s front. Our objective is to please Jesus, who chose us to be soldiers.
Athlete – 2 Tim 2:5 – a man who strives for masteries [1 Cor 9:24-27] is crowned when he is the legitimate champion of an athletic competition. If he cheats, he isn’t allowed to compete or he isn’t crowned or his crown is taken away when it is discovered that he cheated. He must compete lawfully. Likewise, we must keep God’s rules for the ministry. If we don’t, we might look like a success down here, but we will be denied a crown at the judgment seat of Christ. Don’t lie about attendance, don’t use the world to increase the size of the crowd, don’t compromise God’s words to get along with modernists, don’t envy those who appear to be more successful than you or don’t look down on those who seem to be less successful, etc.
Husbandman – 2 Tim 2:6 – being a preacher is like being a husbandman [a farmer]. Since he is “first” partaker of the fruits [1 Cor 9:11-14], then he must care for the “farm” and the “crop.” He must sow to reap. He must take care to sow good seed thoroughly. He must patiently wait for the seed to mature into a harvestable crop. He must be careful, when harvesting, not to trample the crop. Bob Jones, Sr. said, “Its not how much seed you reap in the field, but the condition in which you leave the field that matters.” He must take care of what he has reaped. As a pastor, he must remember to be sufficiently supported by the church, first, before loading the church with commitments to missionaries and ministries. And so forth.
Conclusion: Paul concluded this section of his letter with this admonition, “Consider what I say.” In other words, he said, “You better listen to me, son.” And Paul was certain that these words were not just his personal counsel because he said, “the Lord give thee understanding in all things.” Paul was sure the Lord would help Timothy apply these instructions in his life.