As I was reading the Philippians passage today, I was reminded of why Timothy was with Paul on his 2nd missionary journey. Paul and Barnabas had a falling out at the end of Paul's first missionary journey because of the actions of the Apostle John Mark, the writer of the Gospel of Mark. As they depart for their second missionary journey, Barnabas and John Mark go to Crete while Paul takes Silas and goes north to Iconium where he hears about this powerful new convert from Derbe. His mother was Jewish and his father was Greek. His name was Timothy. Indeed Timothy is with Paul as they travel northwest in Asia Minor and make their way to Troas and onto Philippi, where Paul meets Lydia from Thyatira, a wealthy merchant of purple dye. Paul is imprisoned in Philippi based on the Jews there and after he is released he spends a good time with Lydia and her household as the Church in Philippi takes root. Sometime later, Paul and Timothy write this letter to those in Philippi. It is so easy to read these stories and the words and remain detached from their significance. Many of us who dedicate our lives to serving the Lord understand this point. The people and the lives changed are the major earthly payment that we feel and that motivates us to keep going, even when everything in us wants to stop! I often still these days struggle with ministry and why I continue when the road is often harsh and long! My mind knows the answer, but my heart often aches when it seems like no one is listening or even cares. Then I read passages like Philippians 1 and REALLY understand Paul. Ministry was not meant to be comfortable, it was meant to be real! Even when your family is not supporting you, you must push on and find perseverance in the Lord and not in ANY earthly or temporal vessel. Ministry is not about being powerful, but is about being humble. Ministry is not about being liked and loved, it is about being content! These are lessons that Paul is highlighting. He says that his chains have even furthered the Gospel. Others are so jealous of him, that they preach not out of love, but out of envy and rivalry. There are others that preach out of goodwill which is out of love. So even in ministry among believers there is a battle and tension. Our charge is to understand our lot and press on because we do not fight flesh and blood but spiritual darkness on earth and in the heavens! So like Paul, I serve knowing that what I am doing will work to my deliverance in the cause of Christ! I wish I could say that I see great comfort ahead, but that is not what I see or feel. The time now is for preparation so that we can stand on that great day of challenge. Praise God from whom all blessings flow! Amen.