Sunday, August 01, 2010

To the Point

Philippians 2:29 So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, 30 for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me.

29 προσδέχεσθε οὖν αὐτὸν ἐν κυρίῳ μετὰ πάσης χαρᾶς καὶ τοὺς τοιούτους ἐντίμους ἔχετε, 30  ὅτι διὰ τὸ ἔργον Χριστοῦ μέχρι θανάτου ἤγγισεν παραβολευσάμενος τῇ ψυχῇ, ἵνα ἀναπληρώσῃ τὸ ὑμῶν ὑστέρημα τῆς πρός με λειτουργίας.

I was going to write about the earlier section in Philippians 2.  After all, that is where Paul exhorts us to the same kind of humility that Christ showed by coming to earth.  It's a wonderful passage and one that we should all meditate on.  It tells us how we are to interact with each other and it gives us tremendous insight into Christology.

I find that when I go through Philippians I tend to gloss over 2:19-30.  There Paul addresses the Philippians directly about sending Timothy and Epaphroditus to them.  On one hand, they seem similar to the end of 2 Timothy where he asks for his cloak.  But I want to comment on verse 30.

I've always marveled at how direct Paul is here.  If this isn't an appeal to make them feel a bit ashamed I don't know what is.  He writes about Epaphroditus, but then shames them about how he had to risk his life to complete something that the Philippians didn't.  I don't know exactly what that was.  I suppose that commentators have ideas, but I can't imagine it would go beyond conjecture.  The point is that Paul calls them out very directly.  He has lots of really nice things to write to the Philippians, but there is still this one verse that stands throughout time.

This tells me that there is a time for direct address like this.  We can't always dance around issues.  It is much easier to be passive-aggressive, but sometimes we have to be honest.  This is easier said than done though.  I know that is is easy for me to be too snarky, so I guard against this.  But Paul does give us a model, unless you need to be an apostle to do this.  I don't think so though, do you?

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