July 25, 2008

What Goes Around Comes Around

Philippians 2:19-30

I hope … to send Timothy to you soon … He has served with me in the work of the gospel.
Philippians 2:19, 22


Today's Bible reading includes a rather sobering state-ment: “Everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.” It's seems a bit odd that Paul would write this, because Timothy and Epaphroditus do not fit that description. Paul says Timothy “takes a genuine interest” in the welfare of the Philippians. And Epaphroditus is someone who “almost died for the work of Christ, risking his life.” These men clearly were not preoccupied with their own interests. Paul himself was also more concerned about the Philippians' well-being than his own. Did you notice how eager Paul was to send Timothy and Epaphroditus back to Philippi so that the Philippians would be blessed by their ministry? Both of these men were indispensable to Paul. In reference to Timothy, Paul writes, “I have no one else like him,” and Paul calls Epaphroditus his “brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier.” We would understand if Paul wanted these men to remain with him for his own encouragement. After all, Paul was in prison while he wrote this letter; if anyone needed encouragement, it was him. But Paul's concern was with other people's walk with the Lord. In helping their faith grow, his own faith grew too. Perhaps our prayers also should include a lot more “Help them” requests than pleas of “Help me.”

Lord, we can easily become preoccupied with our own concerns and neglect the needs of others. Help us put others ahead of ourselves. Thank you for the joy of helping others. Amen.

About the author — Peter Hoytema

Peter Hoytema has been a pastor for nearly 30 years and has served congregations in Ontario and New Jersey. He is currently the pastor of a congregation in Strathroy, Ontario. He is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary and San Francisco Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Grace, are the parents of four adult children.

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