Timothy Commended

19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. 20 For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. 21 For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. 22 But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel. 23 Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it goes with me. 24 But I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly.

Epaphroditus Praised

25 Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need; 26 since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. 27 For indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I sent him the more eagerly, that when you see him again you may rejoice, and I may be less sorrowful. 29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem; 30 because for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in your service toward me.

 Reflections:

 1)      Paul speaks about two different types of relationships in the Church. The first is the like-minded disciple whose major quality is that he cares for the Philippians and not for himself. The other is about fellow workers who seek their own good, and not the good of the Gospel. Which type of worker are we? Are we willing to do a task in the church, mentor someone to do the work, and then step aside and do something else and allow our mentor to take over, with no interference?

2)      How can we become workers who put our concern for others in the church above our own concerns and agendas? Paul already gave the answer to this question in 2:2-4—humility.

3)      One of Paul’s themes in Philippians is joy. How does that theme work together with this chapter? Paul gives us the reality of the Christian life: our Lord does not wipe away all sorrows, but transforms them into joy. Do we look on the sorrows of our life the way the world and society do, as negatives, or do we see them as opportunities to look beyond ourselves to the needs of others, and places where the God who suffered in the Passion and on the Cross in the flesh can transform our sorrows into the joy of the resurrection?

4)      By sending Timothy to the Philippians, Paul is cementing a relationship between distant Churches on two different continents. What have we done to promote relationships of our own church with sister churches throughout the world? Or have we promoted a feeling of isolation and detachment from the universal Church? Think of some things that could be done to promote a wider outlook toward the church and come to the next Evangelism Team meeting with these ideas!

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