Part 1 — Philippians 2:19-30Sometimes I am amazed at the timeliness of God when it comes to His Word.
We’ve been studying the Prison Epistles for several weeks during a time of isolation and social distancing. Last week we weighed the importance of the church being light in the midst of darkness and considered how darkness can provide an opportunity for the church to shine.
This week we look at the remainder of Chapter 2 and study two men that were living examples of “lights shining in the darkness.”- Timothy & Epaphroditus.
One was a man Paul was sending to care for the church and the other a man the church had sent to care for Paul.
These men embodied what it means to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Because of the recent corona virus outbreak we (the church) had to learn new ways to communicate, connect, and proclaim Christ while practicing social distancing; a means of self isolation from public gatherings.
It made me think about Paul as he is writing this letter. He is imprisoned. He is isolated (although not by choice) from the body of Christ in Philippi. Yet, rather than complain about not being able to have church, he finds a new way of ministering to the church through letters.
“19 If the Lord Jesus is willing, I hope to send Timothy to you soon for a visit. Then he can cheer me up by telling me how you are getting along. 20 I have no one else like Timothy, who genuinely cares about your welfare. 21 All the others care only for themselves and not for what matters to Jesus Christ. 22 But you know how Timothy has proved himself. Like a son with his father, he has served with me in preaching the Good News. 23 I hope to send him to you just as soon as I find out what is going to happen to me here. 24 And I have confidence from the Lord that I myself will come to see you soon.” — Philippians 2:19-24
Paul, because of his isolation, was incapable of being there in person to care for the church. Along with this letter, he sends with it, his trusted spiritual son Timothy.
Because, Timothy loved the people the way that Paul loved them. He “sincerely cared” for them. He wasn’t going out of obligation or religious duty, he went out of his own love and concern for them.
In times like this people are looking for more than just assistance. They are looking for those who sincerely care them.
Timothy set himself apart in Paul’s eyes not solely because of his like-minded love for the people, but he distinguished himself by seeking to meet the needs of others (before his own) and serving Paul faithfully as a son with his father.
Timothy went because Paul could not.
How better for the church to shine in this moment of history than for us to love the people around us like Jesus, to put others before ourselves, and serve them faithfully.