The Submissive Mind - Cont'd.
Verses 2:19-24: Next Paul moved on to two "mundane" pieces of business.
He intended to send both Timothy and Epaphroditus to the Philippians. Timothy
was to go so Paul could be provided with news of what was occurring in the
church, and because he knew Timothy would look out for their needs as he
would have liked to himself. He once again states he hopes the day will come
when he can go to them, but meanwhile he was sending Timothy, whom he considered
to be like his son.
Even here Paul was noting the contrast between the believer and non-believer.
Whereas Timothy was concerned with the needs of others, in the final analysis,
the unrighteous is only concerned with himself. Sure, there may be the appearance
of altruism, but only with the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit can
there be the true spirit of agapé.
Verses 2:25-30: Paul also told them he was returning Epaphroditus
to them. He made it clear how valuable he considered him to be, calling him
a brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier. As noted earlier, this may have
been to offset some concern over his work for Paul. Epaphroditus had been
gravely ill. But due to the mercy of God, he had recovered, and so Paul
didnt have to weep over his death. Because of the concerns of the
Philippians for Epaphroditus, Paul felt it was necessary to send him home.
Paul calls them to honor Epaphroditus because of his work for the ministry
of the Lord. Epaphroditus, like Paul is another example of agapé -
putting the needs of others ahead of themselves. Paul had given up his freedom.
Epaphroditus had almost given up his life for the gospel.
The answer to maintaining joy in spite of the actions of people, is to be
more concerned with them than with oneself. Jesus gave up His life. Jesus
temporarily give up His prerogatives as God. He did these things for us.
Paul gave up his position in the Sanhedrin. Now he had given up his freedom.
Timothy was more concerned with caring for others than for looking out for
himself. Epaphroditus had given so much to the work of the Lord, that it
was only due to the mercy of God that he hadnt died.
True joy, true freedom from the actions of others, only comes when we put
God first, and all others ahead of ourselves. After all, isnt this
the model that Jesus provided for us? Isnt this the call to obedience
to the great commands?
Love the Lord your God with all your heart
and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and
greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor
as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments"