A burrito and The Gospel – Philippians 2:19-30

Posted on Feb 01

No matter how Christians participate in the act of advancing the gospel of Jesus Christ, three elements are always present:

1.Compassion (Do you care?)

2.Faithfulness (Are you reliable?)

3.Availability (Are you ready?)

In fact, these three qualities have always been present in believers through the centuries in the process of advancing the gospel — and we were reminded in our study this past Sunday on Philippians 2:19-30 of these qualities being present in two particular individuals.

Most of us know of Timothy, an important disciple of Paul’s. Two books in the New Testament bear his name, in fact — letters Paul wrote to him near the end of Paul’s life and that include all-important principles that we believers must pay attention to.

First, Paul says in verse 20 that Timothy is “genuinely concerned for your welfare.” That’s compassion, right there — the first necessary quality we must possess. In fact, the Greek word for “concerned” is closely related to “anxious”! That might surprise you — particularly because in chapter 4 Paul tells us not to be anxious about anything. But the thing is that word for “anxious” is the same word Paul uses Philippians 2:20, therefore we must conclude that there’s a “good” and “bad” kind of anxious. When anxiety ends up controlling us, that crosses a line … but in Philippians 2:20 it reflects the kind of concern that drives us to do positive things — such as keeping in physical shape so we can stick around for our loved ones and being responsible with our finances and working hard in school and on the job so we can be in the best position to care of our loved ones.

In verse 22, Paul tells us that Timothy possesses “proven worth” — in other words, faithfulness! The related Greek word seen elsewhere in the New Testament reflects the idea of someone having gone through trials and, in the end, being gifted with something to share and teach and pass on. Romans 5:3-4 uses that same word and encourages us that trials and related suffering actually strengthens us and provides us proven character. Here’s the thing: We’re all growing. But we don’t need to wait until we’ve “arrived” at some lofty point to gain the credentials to help others. We don’t need to wait until we’ve got our “act together.” (Hint: None of us will EVER get our act together this side of heaven. Let that myth go!) Instead, in the midst of our growing in Christ — and with the knowledge we’ve gained from the trials we’ve already gone through — we can help others who are going through what we’ve already endured! Don’t be afraid to reach out in this way. It’s a major secret ingredient that energizes fellow believers toward their own missions.

And in verse 23, Paul says he has “hope … to send” Timothy, which reflects the third quality we all need in order to help advance the gospel: availability.

Remember, we must always ask ourselves these three questions: Do I care? Am I reliable? Am I available?

That said … what an ADVENTURE the Lord has given us! Think about it. Lots of adrenaline-seeking individuals post incredible videos of themselves traveling to the ends of the earth to base jump, fly through the air in wing suits, climb the tallest mountains, and travel the deepest points in the ocean — but none of that compares to the adventures we can have once we avail ourselves to the mission of advancing the gospel. There’s nothing like it … and nothing more important or eternally meaningful.

By Dave Urbanski

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