Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Every great story has a starting place. But not just any starting place, but a really memorable one.
The Lord of the Rings starts with Frodo Baggins in the Shire.
Dorothy’s trip to the Emerald City starts on the Yellow Brick Road.
Pete (Maverick) Mitchell arrives at Miramar to take on the world and win the Top Gun trophy.
Think back to your starting place. To when you were born. We can’t remember the details personally, but we’ve been told stories about our birth. Our starting point and place.
I was the second of two sons born to Rita and Chester in Baltimore, Maryland. There were almost seven years between my brother and I. Not because my parents weren’t “trying.”
Mon had several miscarriages after the birth of my brother. They both were really frustrated, but more so my mom. After so many trips to the doctors and hospitals, they thought that they’d give it one more try. One last shot. Their last-ditch effort. And then I came. So, I’ve always tried to live a last-ditch effort kind of life.
Paul and Timothy were servants. But they didn’t become servants in the normal way.
Not because they spent themselves into debt and they were forcefully made servants to repay all they owed.
Not because they were captured by some invading army and made servants at the point of a spear.
Not because they were born to parents who were servants and they just fell into it.
No, Paul and Timothy became servants because they made a decision to give themselves over to Christ Jesus. They chose to live with and for Jesus because of who Jesus is and all that he’s done for them.
Who – Jesus clearly claimed to be God from eternity past. Period. He claimed to be the one and only way to a restored relationship with God.
What – Jesus left his eternal throne and came to earth as a servant himself. He willingly died to pay for all our sins, making our relationship with God whole again.
And because of all of this and more, Paul and Timothy volunteered to give themselves to the one who loved them so. There wasn’t a fight. There wasn’t any negotiations.
They didn’t haggle over the price because Jesus had already paid it all. So, they gave themselves over to Jesus as his servants. Not just some of themselves, but all. And not like regular servants either.
not in the way of eye-service, as men-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to men,
Ephesians 6:6,7 RSV
How does their being servants of Jesus compare to ours? Are we on the prowl for people to see us doing something for God? Do we post pictures about it for the world to see?
And what about the quality of our service to God? Does he only get our average effort? Only what’s left over? Or do we give him our best? Our most energetic and engaged effort?
In case you hadn’t figured it out by now, God gave his absolute best. Imagine that for a minute: the creator God of the universe could’ve sent an angel or some prophet. But he sent his very best for you and me.
He sent his one and only beloved son. The son he’s been with for all eternity past. The one who has a loving, transparent, and intimate relationship with.. There was no one better that he could’ve sent.
So, our response to who he is and all he’s done must be to give him our best. Our absolute best. No half-hearted measures. No giving up in the middle because it’s hard or we’re tired.
No. We need to give him our best. And part of our best is that we need to keep trying to get better. Spending time and dollars to improve. To get better. For his glory and the good of those around us.
Now, that sure sounds like the place to start.
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