2.1 Two Joyful Pastors: One Great Plea.

This is post #8 of a 26-sesion blog series entitled Two Joyful Pastors – One Great Work of Christ: A Journey with Paul, Timothy, and the Philippian Church. It was Eugene Peterson who said that Philippians is Paul’s happiest letter. Join us as we explore this joyful work of Christ as it manifest itself amongst Paul and Timothy, and the early church of Christ-followers in Philippi. Just maybe, we might learn a few secrets to finding true joy in the midst of our lives as well. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.


Today’s Lectio Divina: If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if His love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. Philippians 2: 1-4 (MsgB)


May I be totally honest with you today?

After 30-plus years of pastoral ministry here in the Heartland of America, one of my biggest regrets is that the churches I have served never seemed to attain to the level of true community I hoped we would as the body of Christ.

Now, please, don’t get me wrong.

The folks attending our churches were dear, sweet brothers and sisters in Christ. For the most part, we demonstrated a deep love and appreciation for others around us. When we, the church, would find out about a need in someone else’s life, very often there would be a sincere effort to meet that person’s need. But, after it’s all said and done, after 30-plus years of doing church, I never really felt like we reached the depths of true community that I believe Jesus longed to see in us.

Have you ever felt that way about the church you lead or attend?

I’m guessing you have.

Well, take heart, my friends. When I read Paul’s letter to the good folks in Philippi, I see that Paul and his co-workers in Rome were feeling this same lack of true community that we feel so often today. I mean look carefully at Paul’s plea here in today’s Lectio Divina.

First off, Paul begins his plea for true community by reminding his readers about all the amazing stuff that has occurred in their lives since they’ve come closer to Christ. Just look at the amazing list that Paul reviews for them:

  1. If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ…

(i.e. look at all of the amazing stuff that’s happened as you’ve been following Jesus)

  1. if His love has made any difference in your life…

(i.e. look at the amazing difference Jesus’ love has made in your life)

  1. if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you…

(i.e. look at all the good that’s come now that you have become an active participant in this Spirit-led community)

  1. if you have a heart…

(i.e. look at the way God has truly softened your hardened-heart)

  1. if you care…

(i.e. look at the way Jesus has transformed you into a truly caring person)

Ok. Ok, Paul, You’ve got my attention now. I’m tracking with you. You are right. Jesus of Nazareth has literally turned my life inside out, upside down, taking me from being a lonely, self-centered, son-of-a-gun into one amazingly blessed person!

So, now that Pastor Paul has our attention, calling out all the good stuff that has occurred in our lives, he decides to go for the jugular. He starts by personalizing all he is about to ask of us by asking us nicely…”Now, will you do me favor?”

Aww. Alright Paul, for you? Sure nuff.

Now, are you ready? Take a deep breath. Here we go.

  1. Agree with each other.
  2. Love each other.
  3. Be deep-spirited friends.
  4. Don’t push your way to the front.
  5. Don’t sweet-talk your way to the top.
  6. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead.
  7. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage.
  8. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

Wow. Look at this list! Just imagine what Christian community might look like in America if we could simply practice these eight simple suggestions until we get ‘em firmly established in our lives!

Allow me to review this list with you, one more time.

  1. Agree with each other.
  2. Love each other.
  3. Be deep-spirited friends.
  4. Don’t push your way to the front.
  5. Don’t sweet-talk your way to the top.
  6. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead.
  7. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage.
  8. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

Thanks, Paul. I know that I needed this simple reminder. And, apparently, so did your friends in Philippi as well.

Today’s Prayer:  So, Jesus, as Paul makes his plea for true community here in his ancient letter to the Philippians, I know, through the work of the Spirit, that his plea is speaking to me, today, as well. Holy Spirit, will you please indwell me and empower me to act on these eight simple actions, all of which when practiced, can take my relationships from casual acquaintances to deep and transformed relationships. For Your Name’s sake and for Your Glory. Amen.

Today’s Questions to Ponder: Jesus prayed that the world would recognize Him for who He truly is, by seeing, first-hand, God’s great love being lived out amongst the body of Christ (see John 17: 20-23). What might it look like in my relationships if I simply acted on these eight suggestions Paul gave us in his plea to the Philippian church? Might it be possible for those steps to become our primary marching orders in the days ahead, for the greater glory of God?

So, how are you experiencing Jesus as we ponder together on this journey into the Book of Philippians?


Two Joyful Pastors – One Great Work of Christ: A Journey with Paul, Timothy, and the Philippian Church. We hope you’ll enjoy this series of 26 blogs. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.

If you like what you’re reading, might we suggest you share this page with others!

Click here to go on to the next blog in this series…

1 thought on “2.1 Two Joyful Pastors: One Great Plea.

  1. Pingback: 1.6 Two Joyful Pastors: One Great Struggle. | The Contemplative Activist (TCA)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.