So, my son, be strong in the grace that Jesus Christ gives. Everything that you have heard me preach in public you should in turn entrust to reliable men, who will be able to pass it on to others. Put up with your share of hardship as a loyal soldier in Christ’s army. Remember: 1) That no soldier on active service gets himself entangled in business, or he will not please his commanding officer. 2) A man who enters an athletic contest wins no prize unless he keeps the rules laid down. 3) Only the man who works on the land has the right to the first share of its produce. Consider these three illustrations of mine and the Lord will help you to understand all that I mean.
For these "three illustrations," a more exact reading would go like this: "No one serving as a soldier entangles himself with pragmatic modes of life, that he might please the one who enlisted him. If anyone also competes, he is not crowned if he has not competed lawfully. For the hardworking farmer, it is necessary first to partake of the fruits."
Did you notice some of the narrowing of the focus there, due to some of the wordings? For me, it was "pragmatic," "lawfully" and "partake of the fruits." For the sake of the Gospel, I am to think non-pragmatically, walk in the straight and narrow of Jesus, and be the first taster of the fruits. How can I go hungry when I'm hanging here on the Vine? How can I miss Jesus when He lives within me? How can I plan for, or try to account for, One whose own ministry strategy was haphazard at best?
Oh, we must follow only Jesus today!