This is post #12 of a 26-session 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: I plan (according to Jesus’ plan) to send Timothy to you very soon so he can bring back all the news of you he can gather. Oh, how that will do my heart good! I have no one quite like Timothy. He is loyal, and genuinely concerned for you. Most people around here are looking out for themselves, with little concern for the things of Jesus. But you know yourselves that Timothy’s the real thing. He’s been a devoted son to me as together we’ve delivered the Message. As soon as I see how things are going to fall out for me here, I plan to send him off. And then I’m hoping and praying to be right on his heels. Philippians 2: 19-24 (MsgB)
After thirty-plus years of doing pastoral ministry, there are a lot of things I’ve hopefully learned. One truth that stands out above so many others is this…
“It is not good for the man to be alone.” Genesis 2: 18a NIV
Oh yeah, I know, I know. This passage from Genesis is talking about Adam and his great need for his life partner, Eve.
But, as I see it, the larger truth here is that, from God’s perspective, it simply isn’t wise for any human being, man, woman or child, to be left alone for any length of time!
Why, you ask?
Because, when I’m left alone, I’m limited to my own thoughts, my own limitations, my own demons, my own perspective on life.
And like it or not, while I consider myself a pretty dependable and well-rounded guy, I’ve learned from experience that if I’m left alone for too long, I become self-absorbed, self-centered, and in all truth, one very selfish, all-about-me son of a gun.
So, in truth.
It’s been a God-send for Marty Boller to live most of his life in the midst of comradery.
It started, for me, in having a loving mom and dad, and older brother. Oh yes, there were times when we didn’t see eye to eye, especially with that older brother! But without them, I know my life path would be completely different than it is today.
Then, when I was in my early-twenties, a beautiful, wise, sensitive, Jesus-loving woman named Sandy Unrue came into my life. In 1975, we married, and as of this writing, we’ve been together now for 44 years, and we both pray, in God’s providence, we will have many more years together. Have we always been in agreement on all things? No. But through it all, God’s word in Genesis 2; “It is not good for Marty to be alone,” has proven to be right and true.
Now, finally, allow me to address the third realm of relationships that God has blessed me with, keeping me from having to walk my life out alone.
Good and faithful friends.
You see, like Paul here in today’s text compliments his dear son in the faith, Timothy, God has surrounded me over the years with unbelievably solid brothers and sisters in the Lord. Women and men who God has used to help me along the way.
I recall, during my years working with Promise Keepers (1995-2000), hearing Howard Hendricks, president of Dallas Theological Seminary, tell us that every man or woman needs three types of relationships in their lives. A Paul (one who serves as a mentor/coach in my life), a Barnabas (one who is an equal partner in life, serving as one who is not impressed by me, can keep me honest, but also serves as an encourager as well), and a Timothy (one who I am serving as a mentor/coach, assisting them along the way in Christ).
I’m not sure who Paul’s Paul was…but in truth, it was not good for Paul, or Timothy, or the good folks in Philippi to be alone.
So what about you?
Are you alone in your walk with Christ today?
If so, might I suggest that you open yourself up to the gift of godly relationships, and begin asking Jesus to bring you comrades; a Paul, a Barnabas, and a Timothy (or two) into your life?
Take it from me.
You’ll be blessed beyond belief!
Today’s Prayer: Jesus, without a doubt, I’ve learned over my 68 years of life, that it’s not good for me to be alone! I’m thankful that over the years, You’ve taken the initiative to make suitable helpers for me, comrades sent my way to come alongside. The gift of a good family, a good marriage, and good friends have been an amazing blessing. I know that many around me have not had all those pieces come together as I have. So, Lord, make me aware of how I might step into relationship with others, bringing that same blessing I’ve experienced, into their lives. For Your Name’s sake and for Your Glory. Amen.
Today’s Questions to Ponder: So, who, today, are my comrades in the faith? Am I tending to those relationships in such a way that Jesus’ presence is working there? Who, today, is my Paul, my mentor/coach? Who, today is my Barnabas, my encourager? And finally, who, today is my Timothy, one who I’m coming alongside, sharing my life experiences with them as they walk their own path with Christ?
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.
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