We who are still in training can benefit from persons who were near the end of their training, and who wrote to encourage us from that perspective. There are several examples from the Old Testament, but only one from the New Testament, namely Simon Peter.
Peter knew that he would be killed, having been warned of this by Jesus. Hear Jesus.
“Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.” (John 21:18-19)
Peter was waiting to die, and wrote a wonderful letter to us. Hear Peter’s justification.
“Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me.
“Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease.” (2 Peter 1:13-15)
His “tent” is, of course, his physical body. Peter used this final opportunity to put our training in perspective. He encouraged us to persist with our training, despite the distractions, obstacles and objections that will certainly come.
I have decided to paraphrase his final letter, 2 Peter. You are encouraged to read it for yourself. It follows.
My dear fellow trainees:
Our Employer has graciously given us everything we need to complete our training. He has promised us that all of the training exercises are achievable, once we start with the right attitude.
If you are committed to becoming productive employees, then please read the employee manual so that you may understand the Employer’s standards of work and behaviour. With this knowledge, you can then begin practising the exercises. You may find them challenging at first, but please do not become discouraged. They will eventually become easier if you persist with them.
Once you have become proficient in the exercises, then please encourage your work colleagues, and teach them everything that you have learnt. Your own training will be complete when you have unselfishly helped to train enough of your colleagues.
Please try to encourage those who find the exercises challenging, especially if they seem discouraged. If they give up, they may never develop the confidence that comes with completing an exercise, and will probably develop a fear of failure or a crippling belief that such exercises are unachievable.
I have completed my training and will shortly be leaving this department. However, before I go, allow me to give you some important advice. I hope that after I am gone, you will reread this letter to remind and encourage you during your own period of training.
Firstly. Please understand that the Company is not a myth or a cunningly devised fable. I personally know the Chief Executive Officer, and I heard when the Employer confirmed his appointment. The Employer Himself actually dictated the employee manual for your benefit.
Secondly. Please be aware that some members of your class may not appreciate the purposes of the training exercises, or they will think that the exercises are too challenging, irrelevant, or unachievable.
They will then try to promote their own low standards of productivity. Unfortunately, this will only ensure that they, and those who they mislead, are unprepared for the work of the Company. They will find themselves unemployable after their time of training has expired.
If those promoting low standards are able to influence most of the class in unproductive behaviour, then the Employer may have to take drastic measures. He has had to do this at least three times in the past.
The first time was when a vice-president and some associates attempted to take-over the Company and they were fired. The second was when the entire student body rejected the training and the Employer had to wash down the facility. The third was when a class engaged in abominable behaviour and the Employer had to apply a hot treatment. However, if you remain faithful to your training, despite the unproductive influences around you, then you will be retained.
Those who try to frustrate your training are ignorant, presumptuous and self-willed. Most of them only attend the training classes to impress and seduce those of the opposite sex with smooth words. They continually try to entice others away from their training and promise them a fun time, while they are actually addicted to corrupt behaviour, that prevents them from attaining any reasonable level of productivity.
Both the enticer and the enticed will become unemployable, just like those who refuse to start training and instead waste all of their precious time on the playground. If a person starts training and then becomes addicted to corrupt practises, then it is better if they had not commenced training at all.
Thirdly. Please remember that the Employer’s expansion project will commence. However, He is waiting patiently, and He will suffer and be inconvenienced for as long as practically possible. You see, He has no desire that those who are not training properly, or those who are not training at all should be destined for unemployment. He is desperately hoping that those in the playground, and those playing the fool in the classroom will commence and complete their training respectively.
Since the expansion project will start, please prepare yourself for the wonderful responsibilities that you will receive upon completion of your training, and do not be distracted by those who have no interest in your future. Above all, grow in the favour and knowledge of our Chief Executive Officer, Jesus Christ.
I have often thought what my final words to the world would be if, like Peter, I was awaiting execution for doing what was right. That he would continue to promote Jesus’ message that our lives on earth are a training ground for later responsibilities, suggests that he was faithful unto the end.
Living this way puts all of life’s challenges in perspective. Each challenge is an opportunity to react better – to improve. Use your challenges wisely, and you will not feel stress.