Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Philippians 2:19-24


19But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition. 20For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. 21For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus. 22But you know of his proven worth that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father. 23Therefore I hope to send him immediately, as soon as I see how things go with me; 24and I trust in the Lord that I myself also will be coming shortly.

Personal letters such as Philippians gives so much insight into the inner-workings of the ministry. Note three things here:

1. Paul's genuine and passionate concern for the believers in Philippi. This is a constant throughout with the New Testament letters and books that are written to the believers in Rome, or Corinth or Galatia or Ephesus. Is it any wonder that the men who turned the world upside down did it, because their love for one another was in such stark contrast to the world's ways of doing life? When Jesus commanded them to love one another, He noted that this would be a unique distinction that will be noticed by the world. And, in the Lord's prayer in John 17, Jesus was all about being united in His love. With all of our fractured world of comparisons marked by the variety of world religions and the variety of denominations within Christianity, we have lost our way in being one and loving one another. We tend to love our own kind. We need a heavy dose of "otherness" that the early disciples practiced.

2. Paul feels he only has a few who are of "kindred spirit" who will have the same concern for the Philippian believers as he. Over the last 3 and a half years my learning curve has been perpendicular, to say the least. However, the most vital thing I've come to realize is that it takes so long for people to "get it", meaning how to walk with Jesus and with one another how to BE THE CHURCH of Jesus--to be a revolutionary. I was agonizing over this to the point of complaining about it to a friend of mine. He didn't miss a beat and came right back at me and said, "But it only takes a few!" (My friend is way ahead of me in understanding how the revolution of Jesus works.) Jesus was never discouraged with a few. In fact, Jesus purposefully began His ministry with just three fishermen. He didn't challenge them to start a revolution that would change the world, but invited them to BE TOGETHER with Him. Although Jesus spoke to large crowds from time to time, it was clearly not in His revolutionary strategy to work with the masses. He was all about "life on life" training of His disciples who would go on to turn the world upside down. Paul is not complaining, but stating a fact. Timothy is the only one he knew who "got it" enough to make the visit to the Philippians and be an encouragement to them.

3. Those who left Paul and Timothy's fellowship are said to be seeking after their own interests, not those of Jesus. They were disqualified because they were too busy seeking after their own interests and not those of Jesus. This, of all things in our lives right now, is the one that breaks my heart the most. It's the wonderful people who claim to love Jesus, but are too caught up in their own interests-too busy to participate in the things of Jesus and to be with a few. When you're too busy seeking after your own interests and not the things of Jesus, then being a spectator at the best show in town is all you need.

So, how do you stack up with these 3 observations? Do you have a genuine concern for other believers? Are you participating with a few who are stubbornly supporting one another in this Jesus journey? Are you too caught up in seeking after your own interests and not the interests of Jesus?

Jesus is looking for a few revolutionaries who are willing to follow Him and Him alone, will give themselves to others and who will make their primary interests the things of Jesus over their own. Will you apply for the job?

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