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A Wedding, A Funeral, A Servant.




"Carolyn, you may now kiss your husband; Alex, you may kiss your bride." I had the honor of officiating at the wedding of a long-time friend, Carolyn. It was a second marriage for both bride and groom - after great heartbreak.  The entire backyard setting overflowed with love and good will as friends and family came from all around to celebrate with them.  Sweet.


And then I had the privilege of memorializing a beautiful godly, gutsy, gusto-filled Italian woman named Lucia.  Of all the things I do, honoring the life of a human being is so very meaningful to me.  Gathering details and bio-bites                                               and weaving together a story of a life well lived is like turning over the tapestry God creatively wove, and seeing all he used to color, enrich and imbue that masterpiece of a life with meaning--especially when she loved and served Him. 


Then, while there is sorrow in the loss of a loved one, there is a living hope because loved ones know they will be reunited one day. Besides, every memorial service gives me the chance to ask questions of myself: What about my legacy?  What will I leave behind?  How will people characterize my life?  What will my four children say?  Will my life be a pleasing sacrifice to God?  Hmmm... It is a fortunate, most blessed human being who knows that when he dies, he has left nothing on the table, knowing when he stands before his Lord, he will hear, 'Well done, good and faithful servant.'1 That was Paul.  


Paul had those who were good and faithful servants to him. He writes of two in these verses as we get an inside look at ministry.

"But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy. Yes, you should rejoice, and I will share your joy.


If the Lord Jesus is willing, I hope to send Timothy to you soon for a visit. Then he can cheer me up by telling me how you are getting along. I have no one else like Timothy, who genuinely cares about your welfare. All the others care only for themselves and not for what matters to Jesus Christ. But you know how Timothy has proved himself. Like a son with his father, he has served with me in preaching the Good News. I hope to send him to you just as soon as I find out what is going to happen to me here. And I have confidence from the Lord that I myself will come to see you soon.


Meanwhile, I thought I should send Epaphroditus back to you. He is a true brother, co-worker, and fellow soldier. And he was your messenger to help me in my need.  I am sending him because he has been longing to see you, and he was very distressed that you heard he was ill. And he certainly was ill; in fact, he almost died. But God had mercy on him-and also on me, so that I would not have one sorrow after another.


So I am all the more anxious to send him back to you, for I know you will be glad to see him, and then I will not be so worried about you. Welcome him in the Lord's love and with great joy, and give him the honor that people like him deserve. For he risked his life for the work of Christ, and he was at the point of death while doing for me what you couldn't do from far away."2  Timothy and Epaphroditus sacrificed a lot to serve Paul.


Legacy is shaped by whether we choose to sacrifice and serve others well.  

Now obviously this was kind of some housekeeping business that Paul was doing between himself and the Philippians to whom he was writing, but it gives us some context.   We recall the few important verses before these about humility and serving others, Jesus emptying himself even to the point of death-death on a cross-for us.  So it gives us the framework on which Paul is pinning these thoughts. Paul is wondering if he will ever be free again,

countenancing the very real notion that his life would be taken from him,

and during this time, he is being served by these two faithful men.

In addition, the only way he will get word to the Philippians

or about them is through one of these two as messenger.  

 


Legacy is shaped by whether we choose to sacrifice of ourselves to serve God by serving others well.


Who are you serving?  Do you have an attitude of humility, thinking of others first - before yourself, that is?3  Fact is, we all serve somebody, something, even if it is mostly ourselves.  Guess I want my legacy to be filled with names, faces, lives I touched and served, and I definitely want to hear, 'Well done, good and faithful servant.'  Servant.  Look around and find some one, some place to serve today.



Christine

Philippians, 17



1 - Matthew 25.21

2 - Philippians 2.17-30, NLT 

3 - Philippians 2.3-4 

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