Justin walked around the army camp dejected. He was a new recruit and was still getting used to army life.
Nothing so far was going the way he’d pictured. He wanted steak for dinner—or at least something edible—but instead was served a pot of something or other that tasted more akin to poison. He wanted a soft bed to lie on, but instead he had to sleep on the bare ground. Was a mattress too much to expect?
“Hey, why the long face?” Mark said with a friendly pat on the shoulder.
Justin explained his woes. “Life is just so hard,” he wined. “Why does it have to be this way?”
To his surprise, Mark looked like he was working hard to restrain a laugh. “Did you really think the army would be easy?”
“Would you please explain what is so funny?” Justin asked.
“Sorry,” Mark apologized, trying to put on a serious look. “It’s just, well, Justin, you joined an army, not a restaurant.”
Justin squirmed. Mark was right. He’d been forgetting what really mattered.
“Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.” 2 Timothy 2:3-6 (ESV)
“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 (ESV)
“looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 (ESV)