Being an effective leader in Christ’s church takes work. There are no shortcuts. There are many obstacles. And it would be easy to throw in the towel and give up. Notice how Paul puts it in 1st Timothy 4:9-10: “This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.”
Dr. Wuest points out in his commentary, “The words ‘labor’ and ‘strive’ are…to labor to the point of exhaustion…and a Greek athletic term (from which) we get our word ‘agony.’ Both words denote strenuous and painful effort.” There is a measure of tension here that can be confusing to some. It is God’s grace that provides salvation for us. We can’t earn or pay for our salvation. It’s a gift to be received by faith. The gift is available to everyone, but experienced only by those who believe. This is a trustworthy proposition and deserves full acceptance.
Paul says he has put his hope in the living God, the Savior. He did that for himself. He can’t do it for anyone else, but he can work at trying to persuade others to put their hope in the living God, the Savior. The destiny of those who choose not to take that step of faith is dire. Consequently those who share the good news with them have a burning desire to see them reconsider and respond to the truth. There are those, however, who would seek to reinforce their resistance.
The battle is for the minds and hearts of the lost. How deeply do you care to see them won? What painful price are you willing to pay to reach them?