Groupies Galore

Philippians 2:20 “For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare.”

Observation: Paul was an exhorter. Most of his letter to the Philippians was to stir them to greater zeal, encouraging them in their walk, affirming them in Christ. He called them to humility in Christ and pointed them to ultimate victory. Then came five verses in which Paul expressed his longing to send Timothy to them so he could serve as Paul’s eyewitness as to how the church was doing. Paul expected to be greatly encouraged by Timothy’s good report. In proposing to send Timothy, he reminded them of Timothy’s proven worth in that he had served Paul like a child serving his father. His heart obviously overflowed with love and appreciation for Timothy. But Paul gave us a glimpse of something else when he said, “I have no one else of kindred spirit” to send.

Application: Paul, had you truly no one else to send? There is in this brief statement a passing cloud of sadness, a sense of being largely alone despite adoring crowds. How can this be? Surely Paul had his groupies in every town, followers whose lives had been changed by meeting Christ through Paul’s teaching. And I don’t have to read far to imagine Paul’s ability to fire up his audience; zeal must have been common at the close of his weekend conferences. What then could cause him to make such a forlorn statement? It was, Paul said, Timothy’s kindred spirit that qualified only him.

Oh, Paul! Are you saying that the admiring crowds didn’t necessarily share your heart commitment to Christ? Are you saying that most of us simply returned to our homes and jobs and picked up where we left off? Surely we know more about Jesus having sat under your teaching. Surely you appreciate that we learned a great deal; we even bought all your teaching tapes! Don’t you know, Paul, that we will carry with us for weeks to come the glow of fervor and fire we saw in you? You were so encouraging, so challenging, so right on! We came away with some great ideas for making our marriage better, and your “nine steps to financial freedom” were a huge winner!

Only Timothy was a kindred spirit. This causes me to reflect soberly on my personal response to the Gospel. Do I merely try to fit it in with all the other stuff on my plate, or am I one of those few about whom Paul would say, “I can send him, or her; I have no one else of such kindred spirit.”

Prayer: Lord, I think about Isaiah saying “Here I am; send me,” and I wonder if You could take me up on that offer were it to come from me. Show me everything that must change, Lord, for me to be known as Your kindred spirit.

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