Read Philippians 2:19-30.
How many of us have them?
If you remember from Chapter one, you can feel Paul’s affection for his Christian family. He longs to be with them, he is thankful for them in his prayers, and is grateful to have someone to share in grace and in his suffering.
Friendships can be hard. Friendships can be messy. Friendships can be one of the greatest blessings on this Earth.
I have friends that I have known since high school, friends that speak truth in love to me, friends that make me laugh, friends that will sit with me in pain, friends that are a season ahead of me, friends that are a season behind me. Each of these friendships adds value to my life.
Image Credit: Iryna Yeroshko, Creative Commons
Paul mentions two of his friends in this passage:
Timothy, who was like a son in the faith to him.
Epaphroditus who Paul says was a brother to him.
Both fellow workers in the faith, whom he encouraged and whom he was encouraged by.
Notice how Paul refers to his Christian friends? He uses the terms son and brother. He considers these fellow workers, one he was discipling and training up, and the other who was ministering to him in his time of need, to be like family.
Again, the Christian life is not meant to be lived alone. We are to have others around us to sharpen us, encourage us, and challenge us. I think it’s important to note that Paul didn’t just have friends that were in the same season of life as he was, either. He had Timothy, who was younger and less mature in the faith and he had Epaphroditus who was a fellow worker and encourager. He had someone behind him and someone beside him.
What about you? Do you have a Timothy, someone you’re pouring into? I think we can learn from Paul and see that while we think discipling someone takes much from us, it really in the end adds to our life and fills us. Consider finding someone a season behind you to pour into and then grab some friends to run alongside you.
1. What are some of the characteristics Paul says about these men, his friends?
2. Why do we need friendships?
3. How are your friendships? Do you have friends that are in different seasons or walks of life? What can you do this week to pursue healthy friendships?
Maybe you are Timothy in need of a Paul. The Well has a mentoring program, if you’re interested in being or finding a mentor, you can sign up here: The Well: Mentors