Long-term success is achieved only if there is a successor. Paul knew this and thus instructed Timothy to impart everything he had learned from him to other reliable people. In 2 Timothy 2, Paul used three images of a reliable, faithful person.
First, he said a faithful person is like a soldier (2:3), who will endure hardship as part of his calling. Good soldiers do not get involved in things that distract them from following their commanders; no matter what, they maintain their focus. In order to be faithful to Jesus, our total focus must be on fighting the battle of faith with Him, not on gaining worldly position.
The second image of a faithful Christian is that of an athlete (2:5). An athlete must follow all the rules if he wants to win the game. To break the rules means instant disqualification. The image of the athlete reflects the need for character in the life of the Christian. Only those who live pure lives within the constraints of God’s commands will win the prize.
The last image of a faithful Christian is that of a farmer (2:6). Diligent, hardworking farmers are models of patience. The seeds they sow into the soil must gradually grow into crops. If the farmer wants to reap a harvest, he cannot become impatient and dig up the seed to see if it is growing yet! Similarly, we must be patient with our growth and that of others in the Lord. Patiently we must wait for the harvest of spiritual growth.
If you find a focused, pure, patient servant of the Lord, invest your time in that person. One day he will do the same for someone else, and your life will have counted for something great.