"I hope to send Timothy to you soon for a visit." (2:19)
"Meanwhile, I thought I should send Epaphroditus back to you." (2:25)
What would faith look like if we were willing to be sent?
What would faith look like if we walked—feet dragging under our own weight, sun baking our skin— where God and fellow Christians needed us to be?
Often times we fall into the trap called self. We clench our needs, our worries, our desires, our faith into fists and we forget to leave room to carry others' burdens or joys. Our ability to be His hands becomes seriously diminished by our need to hold our own worlds. We're too busy entertaining ourselves to realize there's an audience before us. Welcome to the fall of man, where we are our own trap.
In these verses, Paul presents us with three examples of selfless community and selfless faith. Timothy and Epaphroditus desperately craved growth in the Philippi church, but knew this could not be done without support—tangible support. In an effort to be Jesus' hands and to be the builders of faith, they went. Oceans that drown, bodies that ache, governments that arrest; they suffered the miles all to simply uphold the Christian community. They would risk being broken if it meant keeping their brothers and sisters strong. What would happen if you had this same sense of sacrifice for others' spiritual walks? How would those around you grow?
Paul himself also speaks a message of selflessness in verse 17, when he says, "But I will rejoice, even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God." He seemingly taunts death, attributing joy to it and wagging his imprisoned fingers in its face. Even behind bars, with the execution scene at hand, Paul remains God-centered and bold in this perspective.
These days, we arm-wrestle the idea of boldness to the ground, somehow, ironically, with our laxity. We stay busy, we stay scheduled, we stay cowered behind our mountains of to-do lists, we stay focused on "me, me, me." We find ourselves walking straight into the metallic teeth of that same old trap. A part of being bold, however, is to lose one's pride and let go of one's self. How would your day change if you spent the same amount of time focusing on God as you did on yourself?
Today's challenge: Be someone's Timothy. I'm not saying walk an ocean or travel to Macedonia, but be intentional in supporting a fellow brother and sister in Christ. Pray with someone you've been meaning to pray for lately. Write a note of encouragement to someone who's been struggling in the mire of life recently. Be a pillar of strength in someone's house of God.