Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.
I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon.
But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him, because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me.
- Philippians 2:14-30
As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
- Luke 9:57-58
For to me, to live is Christand to die is gain.
- Philippians 1:21
“Is he not considering them better than himself? Of course he is. He is willing to be poured out as a sacriﬁce if it will increase the faith of the Philippian church. He is in fact ‘glad’ to sacriﬁce in this way. Why? So that they will think Paul is great? No, though of course they will. So that they will know Christ is great.
“Paul gives us two more examples of seeking Christ through humility and sacriﬁce. …
“Timothy is one of Paul’s examples of genuine concern for the Philippians’ spiritual well-being and growth. For his part, Timothy is willing to leave his father in the faith to go to Philippi so he can bring back good news to cheer Paul’s heart. There are two things at work here: Timothy’s deep and abiding love for Paul because of the cross of Christ, and Timothy’s deep and genuine concern for the church in Philippi because of the cross of Christ.
“Timothy is a selﬂess man. …
“Epaphroditus reckons that his life is secondary to Paul being encouraged and the church at Philippi growing into a mature faith. Why? ‘For the work of Christ.’ He, like Timothy, has the mind of Christ, which is theirs through union with Christ. They risk their lives, knowing that Paul has risked his, because they know that ultimately they are totally secure in Jesus. If this service and sacriﬁce will make Jesus look big, if it will fulﬁll Jesus’s purposes, if it will communicate Jesus to the church and to the world, they are all for it.
“Now, let’s try to make this practical. Here’s a good litmus test: In your world, do people have souls? I know that sounds like a simple question. Let me put it into context. When you sit down at a restaurant, as a believer in Christ, and a young woman or young man waits on you, do you think of him or her as having a soul? As being a spiritual creature? Or are you thinking, ‘just give me my drink and take my order and hurry up?’ Or do you recognize the image of God in that person? Are you able to encourage, love, and serve your servers, even in a situation as simple as that?”
- Matt Chandler, To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain
Again, we see an example of Paul’s humility and how we should also be humble.
Then, we are introduced to two of Paul’s people, Timothy and Epaphroditus. They show the example that everything that they have and everything that they do is devoted to service to Jesus Christ.
There are those that lose everything they have in a natural disaster. Yes, some things like photographs and important papers are irreplaceable, but put yourself in that situation. What would you replace if the insurance company gives you a very low number? If you get a lot out of the insurance company you buy everything, and you make it better. But if you have to ask, “What can I not live without?” Then what are your priorities? Of course, let’s get past the food, clothing, and shelter stuff, including a few pots, pans, dishes, and silverware (flatware). But then, would you focus on a television and computer? I know people who would think of gaming systems, yes plural, before they would think of food and clothing.
I might have to break down and consider a reading tablet and download my reference books rather than have printed books on the bookshelves, but then a trip to a well-stocked used bookstore could replenish the printed books. With printed books, when I look at computer systems, I would need a printer, copier, scanner combination like what I have now (left over from my brief consulting days).
Going through this type of mental exercise is good in that if you lose everything in a flood, fire, tornado, etc. You already have a mental picture of what your priorities are.
But this mental exercise can show you how screwed up your priorities might be. If you are living everyday as Jesus Christ would, you would not even have a place to rest your head. I am not saying to give up everything and sleep under a bridge at night, but the more things that we have, the more distractions we have. I am constantly spending valuable time sorting my reference books, boxing and reboxing those books that I might need in the future, but I have no room for now. And before you ask, I have often read an inspirational book a second or third time and, due to my walk of faith being further down the path, I have gained even more from the old book. If I have room in storage, I will hang onto those books. But how much time to I spend shuffling stuff around in storage? And if anyone can tell me where I placed my copy of “Deadly Doses,” I would like to know. I had to write a story about poisoning recently without my favorite “howdunit” reference book.
We spend so much of our time on things that are not heaven worthy. Rev. David Robertson asked in a post recently if watching the World Cup was a sin? The last sentence in Romans 14 might suggest it is in that anything that is not faith is sin. But to be honest, I watched some of the games, probably none from beginning to end, but I have learned that I need more rest. I failed to watch all of some of the games due to falling asleep and then seeing a television talk show on the air when I woke up. I had to go to the computer to find out who won. The cure for insomnia for me is “football;” American football or soccer, both are effective. And in getting the rest, God has seen to it that my writing production is still on schedule. Why was I getting so tired? Maybe an upcoming doctor appointment will give me answers, but the spiritual aspect was that I was doing too much of the work myself rather than trusting that God had things well in hand. I still do a lot around the house besides the writing, but how much of any of our expending of energy is in the worrying and planning trying to get it done to a ridiculous schedule rather than in the actual doing the work?
To place everything in Jesus’ hands or at His feet means to actually do so and trust that Jesus will handle it the best way possible. Then our labors will be much less stressful.
And with our priorities straight, we can see those around us as being living souls.
Lord, guide me. Give us the faith and courage to lay everything at Your feet. Help us to be totally committed in Your service. And help us to see everyone around us as living souls. In Thy Name I pray. Amen
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.
You are dead on with this prayer. It is my need. To see each person as a soul who is struggling with some issue just as I and those I love struggle. Make me a Good Samaritan to anyone in need.
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Thanks, Oneta, in reading over what I had written, I realized that I had to try to live up to it myself.
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I rarely watch sporting events anymore because I do find that I have better ways to fill my time. But I could watch one in complete faith because I know that God created things for our enjoyment. It could be a sin if you are neglecting a duty or if the entertainment is lewd or worldly, but otherwise I believe God delights to see His children relaxing and having fun, just as I enjoy watching my children play.
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Very good comments. Thanks. I agree. And lately for me, I seek that enjoyment and God blesses me with a good nap instead. God knows best.