Bible Reading: Philippians 2:19-30; John 13:31-35
In our journey through Philippians, we come to the part of the letter many us speed over or ignore altogether. Why would we really concern ourselves with the travel plans and business of two men close to 2,000 years ago? But when we do this, we do miss some great truths and lessons that we need to be the people of God.
In these eleven verses, we see that two men are on their way to Philippi: Timothy and Epaphroditus. Timothy is Paul’s protégé, of sorts, and Paul has great confidence in Timothy’s abilities and passion for Christ. Also, Timothy seems to be, “genuinely concerned,” for the Philippians, so Paul sends Timothy in his place. The second man, Epaphroditus, has a much deeper meaning in coming. Epaphroditus is the messenger and minister that the Philippians sent to serve and helping during a time of need for Paul. Epaphroditus willingly left his home, family, and friends to serve as a missionary for and with Paul. While on this mission, Epaphroditus became very ill. So ill, that Paul notes that Epaphroditus was, “near to death.” God in His mercy spares and heals Epaphroditus, but word of his sickness had reached the Philippians. They were concerned for their own, and their hearts and prayers went out to him. Paul is sending Epaphroditus home to be welcomed with joy and honor for his service of the gospel. This was likely a wonderful and celebratory homecoming.
This is the kind of love and genuineness we should expect among Christians. Is this how you respond when you have a guest speaker comes to church? Are you excited to hear what God is doing in and through them in the place He has sent them? Are you joyful when a believer returns to your church to testify to the work God has been doing?
Application: As the people of God, we must demonstrate love for each other. Jesus said in John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” There are so many ways we must apply this, but let’s look at in the church specifically. We must stop being in such a hurry. Show love to one another by sharing your time and attention. Don’t settle for superficial pleasantries but give of your heart and mind to truly talk with fellow believers. Also, take the step to be more transparent. Don’t feel like you must give your life story but know that it is safe to be open about struggles and hurts you experience. All believers face struggles more often than we care to share. But we can show one another the love and grace by being open and honest at times. If we all come together to slow down and be real believers together, the church will become a place of safety and love, and that will show the world that we are God’s children.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for all the things you call and equip us to do in this world. Help us to be loving to one another and share this life together. May we not be afraid to be who you made us to be, and may we show love to those who share with us. Transform us inside and out to be your people so that our love will show the rest of the world that we belong to you. We love you, God. Amen.