Monday, October 22, 2007

Philippians 4:1


Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown.

NOTE that the church or gathered believers in Jesus in Philippi are said to be Paul's joy and crown. These believers were most likely brought to Jesus by Paul and Timothy (and other disciples traveling with them). And, not only were they introduced to Jesus, but they were discipled along the way-brought along in Jesus. He calls them "my joy and crown." There are two words translated "crown". One is diadema which means a royal crown or crown of kingship. The second is stephanos which has two meanings: It was the crown given to a victorious athlete at the Greek games. To win this crown was the peak of an athlete's experience. It was the crown with which guests were crowned when they sat at a banquet, at a time of celebration and great joy.

I believe Paul was saying that the Philippians were the crown of all his work. There is no joy like seeing someone in whom you have invested your time and energy-some portion of your life-grow and blossom spiritually and personally. It is the greatest thrill imaginable! It's like seeing your child make a hard decision and maturing in the process, knowing that you taught him that.

In a long season of my life I was placed in a ministry where I was speaking and teaching the masses. Although I saw a few come through who were obviously marked by Jesus through me-my joy and crown, it was very few. I saw lots of people who were introduced to Jesus through what I was doing, but did not experience the "bringing them along in Jesus." I was too busy doing the upfront thing to the masses. That was a season of my life with Jesus for which I am grateful, however I have been brought into a whole new season-an entirely new experience in ministry.

Today, after Jesus recaptured my heart, I am enjoying what it means to have men and women be "my joy and crown" and it is the most thrilling thing I've ever known! I want to encourage you to think outside yourself and all that you're wrapped up in-all that gives you joy and happiness-and invest yourself in others.

Come alongside others, help them through difficult times, support them in decision-making, and introduce them to the only person who can transform their lives inside and out. And when you see them grow and get through the struggles of life, embracing joy in a whole new way, investing their lives in others, you will be able to say with great enthusiasm, "You are my joy and crown." There is nothing more thrilling and satisfying than this! Try it out.