Chuck Hetzler, Ph.D., has a diverse background as a biblical scholar, worship leader, and pastor. He served as Christian Union’s first Teaching Fellow at Princeton University and later directed its ministry in New York City. Chuck earned his Ph.D. in New Testament from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and currently pastors Bethesda Grace Church in Manhattan.
As Christians, we are called to work hard for Christ. Are you prepared to live a life—are you living a life as a Christian—where you feel like you are expending yourself, you can feel, as it were, the spiritual sweat dripping off your brow because of how you are living for Christ? That's the calling upon our lives. It's not a life of comfort or ease. It's a life to share in the sufferings of Christ. That's what Paul said to Timothy. That's what we are called to as Christians. We need to remind ourselves of that each and every day, and we need a new American Christian culture of Christians who are not living for ease and pleasure and just doing the minimum Christian standard to get by. But we are soldiers in the Lord's army, doing His will. This is what Paul said to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2, and starting in verse 3 he says to Timothy, "Share in suffering as a good soldier in Christ Jesus."
A soldier. We're called to be a soldier. We're called to wake up early. We're called to do whatever our commanding officer says. We're called to keep our lives trimmed, and trim off the fat from our lives, and stay lean and fit for Christ. He also says that we're supposed to be like an athlete, an athlete who wants to be crowned, the athlete who wants to win the gold medal in the Olympics. Only one does, and they train night and day, years in advance for the culmination of this prize, of an Earthly reward. And Paul says that's the way that we are supposed to live the Christian life. We are supposed to be dedicating ourselves, buffeting our body, planning our days and nights, our schedule, waking up with enough time to be able to seek God in the morning, taking time through our day to stay abiding in Him during the day, taking our nights and spending time with family and teaching them, bringing together our family, praying for one another, looking into the word of God. Planning our whole year's calendar so that we have times to get away and get strong in Christ at Christian conferences or camps.
This is what we are called to. And finally he says, we're a hardworking farmer. It's the hard working farmer who ought to share in the first share of the crops. We as Christians are not those who are sitting on the beach in our sunbathing chair, just enjoying the rays of God's grace. Praise God for the grace of God, but we have all eternity to do that. We are called to—now in this life—be like a hardworking farmer who rises before the sun and he goes to bed at night. He has worked his hands so they're calloused, and his clothes are drenched with sweat. He gives no time to anything else. He doesn't have time to go to this game. He doesn't have time to go to that concert. His life is focused and dedicated on his job. It takes hard work and dedication.
Christians, we are called to be those who labor hard for the Lord. Let's rise up to this level of laying down our lives and living for Christ. This is the standard of Christianity. There is no other, and we need to turn from our lackluster, lazy Christian lives. We need to live bold and strong for Christ and it's an invigorating life. There's no life that's better than living all out for Jesus Christ. God bless you and strengthen you to live as a soldier, an athlete, a farmer for Jesus Christ.