"Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
"So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News. God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 1:3-8 NLT)
Why does thinking of these people thrill Paul and make him want to thank his God? And why is he so glad when he prays for them every day?
- From the time when they first heard his message about the Good News of Jesus they have partnered with him, giving him support and help in the work.
- He knows that God started a great work in their lives and He will complete it when Jesus comes back to take his people home.
- He has no guilt in having a special place in his heart for them because they share with him in imprisonment, and they share the defense and validation of the truth of what he preaches? The Good News!
- He loves these people and a bond of love that comes because of Christ Jesus.
One of the best things we can do in life is to make good use of what others have invested in our lives. So many people have given to me to help me along life's pathway. I sometimes wish there was a better way I could let them know what they have meant to me.
Here in these verses from Paul's letter to the Philippian believers, I see what is most important. I could never bless them all to the extent they have blessed me, but I can continue the giving. I can enter into the work of giving. I can support them and encourage them best by carrying on the work they do by giving and passing on the favor. My labor will demonstrate that what they have done for me has been successful and I am able to contribute and enrich because I have been nurtured.
When they see that what they have done for me has made a difference and I am "carrying on the torch," they will be glad they helped me and feel joy because God is multiplying the gift they gave when they invested in my life. They will see that God is going to keep working in my life until my life is complete. Additionally, the gift keeps on giving both ways. Through my carrying on the vision, paying forward to others, they are encouraged by the success of helping me; they feel joy and are encouraged to continue giving and enrich still other people's lives.
Those who have given to us will have a special place in their hearts for us, especially, if we take opportunities that come our way to support them when they are struggling on their journey. When they see that we care about giving and are willing to sacrifice for the good of them and others, their hearts will warm and they will feel rewarded in their labors.
Something special happens that is seen nowhere else on earth when Christians truly unite in the Love that Jesus gives them. Unique bonds are formed that cannot be understood even if they are observed, unless people know Jesus Christ personally and have felt personally the bond with other like-minded Christians. Certain, special joy only Jesus can give.
Dear Father above All,
Thank you so much for the joy and the bonds of your family because of Jesus. Thank you for the precious gift you give each one of us in the form of people who bless our lives and help us on our way. I have been so blessed by different people throughout my life. They have shown me your love and care. Help me to pass on the same love and care to others, and please enrich those who have enriched my life. All of these riches come because of Jesus!