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Of course you remember this anonymous saying: “If a task has once begun, never leave it till it’s done. Be the labor great or small, do it well or not at all.” This verse captures some of what the apostle Paul sought to get across to Timothy, his son and protégé in the ministry. In his second letter to Timothy, chapter 2, Paul used three illustrations to convey a similar truth. He charged Timothy to consider the life of a soldier; a good soldier, upon entering the military, prioritizes his time and interests. He does it to please his commanding officer. Paul said an athlete who intends to win subjects him- or herself to the rigors of physical exercise. They do it to gain the strength they will need as they train as well as to compete in the competition itself. And Paul said a farmer who wants to enjoy the benefit of his crops not only works hard preparing soil and planting seeds, but knows he has to be patient as he waits for crops to grow and ripen. In each illustration, the participant must be dedicated and stick to the task to have the best outcome. So whether we are called to serve in a leadership role or to participate in any worthwhile activity, we should dedicate ourselves to the task and serve faithfully. Only then can we honor God, benefit others, and enjoy a sense of fulfillment.

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