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Long Term Care

Words of Faith 8-22-19

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2019

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Philippians 2

[19] I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. [20] I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. [21] For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. [22] But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. [23] I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me. [24] And I am confident in the Lord that I myself will come soon.

 

Our Word for today gives us a snapshot of the relationship Paul had with Timothy and that he had with the Church at Philippi. Paul had several helpers who were nearby even while in prison: Timothy, Luke, Aristarchus, and Epaphroditus. Timothy had been with Paul for well over ten years. Paul indicated he would send Timothy just as soon as he learned how his case would turn out.

Paul commended Timothy powerfully and tenderly to the Philippians, even though they already knew him from the founding of the church. "I have no one else like him..." Timothy was like a son to Paul. We get a glimpse of how Paul had grown over the years in his ability to nurture Christian relationships.

Who can forget the painful and harsh departure between Paul and one of his first associates, John Mark (Acts 15:36-41)? If not for the encouragement of Barnabas toward John Mark, we might never have had the Gospel of Mark to read! Paul had a strong, driven personality which gave little tolerance for those who could not cut the missionary mustard. In later years, Paul would forgive and bless John Mark.

It is in this relationship with Timothy that we see how Paul learned to develop and sustain a deep Christian friendship over decades. Timothy could now stand in for Paul and bring back encouraging reports of the ministry going on in Philippi. His report would be an encouragement that would "cheer" Paul. Timothy was more than just a staff associate. He could stand in place of Paul, even though their personalities were very different.

Today, I think the Word calls us to take a look at our friendships. Maybe do a sort of inventory.

Have I allowed a "demanding nature" to hurt or even crush a friendship? Have I wounded a John Mark? Or more importantly, is there a Timothy right now in my life that needs nurturing? Is there a Christian relationship that needs some care?

One thing is for sure; relationships take time, effort, and the grace of God to develop. I have discovered that a great deal of the energy we expend in church and ministry circles is not lasting, but the relationships are eternal.

You may say: Christian relationships are hard for me! Join the club. The Apostle Paul is the President of the club! But, over decades, the Holy Spirit can guide, teach, and shape us so that we learn how to have the kind of tender relationships that are for eternity.

 

Lord, Jesus, there is no one that You have put in my path by chance. Give me an eye for those who need encouragement and those who might encourage me. Teach me how to cultivate and nourish the gift of Christian friendships you put into my life. Amen.

 

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, and our website, and our church app, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.  

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