1 From Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus.
To all those in Philippi who are God’s people in Christ Jesus, along with your supervisors and servants.
2 May the grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
3 I thank my God every time I mention you in my prayers. 4 I’m thankful for all of you every time I pray, and it’s always a prayer full of joy. 5 I’m glad because of the way you have been my partners in the ministry of the gospel from the time you first believed it until now. 6 I’m sure about this: the one who started a good work in you will stay with you to complete the job by the day of Christ Jesus. 7 I have good reason to think this way about all of you because I keep you in my heart. You are all my partners in God’s grace, both during my time in prison and in the defense and support of the gospel. 8 God is my witness that I feel affection for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus.
9 This is my prayer: that your love might become even more and more rich with knowledge and all kinds of insight. 10 I pray this so that you will be able to decide what really matters and so you will be sincere and blameless on the day of Christ. 11 I pray that you will then be filled with the fruit of righteousness, which comes from Jesus Christ, in order to give glory and praise to God.
Paul had people. As he traveled from place to place he had supporters who helped him – they gave him a place to stay, food to eat, and supported his mission by also spreading the Good News. When we read his letters, he always thanks God for them, and thanks them for their work. Then he usually admonishes them for something or tries to work out a dispute. We see in Philippians that he wants to encourage them. He is in prison and wants them to know how much he appreciates their work and prays that they will continue the work and that God will guide them. We know that Paul was a powerful leader both before and after his conversion, but we find in these letters that he knew he needed to rely on others to do the work when he was not among them, and to help him with his physical needs when he was with them.
I have people in my life that I can call at a moment’s notice to come and help me or they can call me, and I will help them. We have watched each other’s kids and dogs. When my husband was in an accident a friend took me to the trauma center and stayed with me for hours. When my friend was out of town and her mother needed medical care, I took her and stayed with her until she got the care she needed. I know I am very blessed to have people in my life like this. Some people don’t, but we were made to be in community and to help each other. God puts people in our lives for us to help and to help us.
Getting help from others is sometimes difficult. We don’t want to seem weak or vulnerable. That has been difficult for me, because I want to be strong and to do it all myself, but I have come to realize that relationships cannot just be one sided – it can’t be that I am always the helper. Paul says in verse 7: “You are all my partners in God’s grace, both during my time in prison and in the defense and support of the gospel.” Being in prison was a vulnerable time for Paul, and he needed to know that he could count on others. Jesus said that it is better to give than to receive (Acts 20:35), but if we don’t receive help from others, we are taking their blessing of giving away from them. The early church did a very good job of coming together and helping each other.
In the news we continue to see horrible things happening every day, but we also see that people are still willing to help others even at great sacrifice to themselves. Let us be the people who are not only willing to give help, but also to accept help when we need it.
by Janet Waryck
For Pondering & Prayer
When have you been stubborn about accepting help from others?
Prayer: As the One who started a good work in us, please stay with us to complete the job. Amen.
Our Lenten Series
For our Lent series this year, we’ll be using the Adam Hamilton book Luke: Jesus and the Outsiders, Outcasts, and Outlaws. At his website, you can find a 40-day reading plan to help you read through the Gospel of Luke during Lent. And join us for worship, in-person or online, at 9:00 & 10:30 every Sunday.