God's Family at Work
Family relationships are, or should be, the strong girders around which society is built. In a way, gospel-friends are even more significant because they enable the growth of the church. They are not just acquaintances; they are blood relatives in a dynasty that will never die! The blood belonged to Jesus Christ, whose sacrifice brought us into His family, making us brothers and sisters with Him. No wonder that Paul was thankful for the believers in Philippi. His house arrest (probably in Rome) was made easier when he remembered the love of his spiritual family.
Of course he prayed for them, God had used them to provide for his physical needs, and their prayers had sustained him. Every memory of them was a cause for joy. But it was more than that. They were not only family but also co-workers in the gospel. They had become followers of Jesus because they believed the gospel, and their joy led them to support the missionaries in the best way possible: they played a full part in sharing the gospel and suffering for what they believed and taught. Paul knew that they would really understand his situation ... and he really understood what they were going through too.
That was why he was writing. They needed encouragement to keep going; by the apostle's prayers, the teaching they had already received, and through this letter which was a reminder that God's love and power for them was undiminished. Gospel partnership is often seen at its best in the tough times - as this letter will go on to unpack. But for now, we (like the Philippians) might reflect on those who have taught the Word to us and supported us, so that we can go out of our way to encourage them. If we have started living by faith in Jesus, we need to finish well! So pray for fellow Christians, maybe start a workplace prayer group: find ways to work with them in sharing the gospel, in the workplace as well as in church.
© Dr Paul Adams