Read Philippians 1:1-11
They were partners, Paul and the church in Philippi.
He’d been on a mission, the second one of its kind, when the believers in Philippi became a church. Paul and his companions had gone there to preach the gospel. (See Acts 16:11-15.) It was there that God brought them to Lydia who later became a crucial part of the founding of that church.
Not much later, Paul and Silas found themselves lying beaten up in a jail cell for freeing a young girl from slavery in the name of Jesus. (See Acts 16:16-40.) That’s where God used the unlikely, it-could-only-be-fueled-by-Him praise of His name to free Paul and Silas from their Philippian chains and bring the jailer and his entire family into the new life He offers through Jesus Christ.
By the time Paul wrote this letter to the Philippians, eleven years has passed. He was in jail, awaiting a verdict from the Imperial Court. And the believers in Philippi were his partners in his work for Jesus. In fact, they sent several gifts and support to him via a member of their church, Epaphroditus.
It was a mutual partnership. Without doubt, Paul saw these people as partners with him in the work God had called him to do.
That’s why Paul had such affection for the church in Philippi. He prayed for them. He knew they prayed for him. They supported him in every sense of the word.
I recently went on a short-term mission trip to Southeast Asia and saw firsthand the work God has let my family be part of in the form of support.
I realized while I was there that it’s easy to think those on the front lines are the only ones “doing ministry”. But the truth is, God uses those He calls to pray and give gifts just as much as He uses those He calls to go and serve. It’s a partnership forged by God.
The trouble comes when we grow lax in the roles God has given us. We get tired of praying. We forget the vision and the call God gave us to participate in the ministries He’s asked us to support. We don’t think our part is important.
I used to read these verses and wonder how in the world Paul could love each and every member of that church so deeply and truly. I now realize it was because of the fellowship they shared as they each participated in the ministry God had called them to.