613 miles....that's the distance that Epaphroditus had to travel from Philippi to Rome. NO WONDER HE ALMOST DIED!! Across modern day Turkey, Macedonia, probably part of Greece ( I'm no historian here)...and then cross the Adriatic Sea and then over Italy to get to Rome.
THAT'S what E ( I am getting tired of slowly spelling out his name every time..and besides if we were in a real live Bible study right now I'd be calling him "E" because I can never pronounce names in the Bible anyways...so this makes it way more realistic), so that's what E had to do to bring some money to Paul in Rome.
I think after I had read the whole chapter and then did my research on E's travels it totally changed everything I was going to write about the chapter. It just became a lot more REAL. Paul talking about putting others before ourselves. Reminding his readers of the Example of Christ-who came to SERVE not to be BE SERVED ( Mark 10:45), who gave His very life for us all...my favorite "Easter" verses in this chapter being: (7-8)
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
then Paul's reminder to the Philippians to not grumble or complain about doing good works ( this is no accident!! As soon as you start telling me to be selfless and humble, all the arguing and bad-attitude-ness in me starts bubbling over and I'm guessing its the same for the Philippians too!
And then Paul brings it back to talking about his own feelings towards them where we get to this verse:
Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you..."
Which when I thought about what that MEANS:
Ok, so a drink offering in my limited knowledge was basically pouring out some wine on to the ground. Now, its kind of a cool symbol of giving something up to God because-have you ever tried to scoop up a drink when you've accidentally spilled it ( let's say something precious like baby formula)?-its pretty well near impossible. So, the picture Paul is painting is here is that he's willing to literally spill out his life, "waste" it, not get it back, give it up completely for the Philippians. Wow.
I think its the idea that its "wasteful" which I kind of talked about in my last blog post. I seem to put way to much importance on whether its "worth it" not whether its just something that would honor God in doing it. Something to think about.
Anyway, back to the chapter. Like I was saying, after seeing the living example of this guy "E" I think I understand what verses 3 and 4 mean a lot more:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interest but each of you to the interests of others.
So what's my application for this week? First let me tell you about this last week....I think that I was able to encourage someone else, in fact, God was very cool and allowed me to help someone on a particularly awful day: Army Packing Up All Your Stuff Day. So I was grateful for that answered prayer. And I was also able to tell someone who's been an encouragement to ME, "thank you"...but honestly it was not as well as I would have liked. It ended up being over text message and that's about as special as toast. But I'll try to do better on that one.
Ok, so this week...this week I feel like the study as shown me a lot about just HOW un-servant like I am. And that deep down, I am CONSTANTLY counting the cost rather than just diving in headfirst to love and serve others. So, this week I'm going to specifically do something that gave me a bad attitude all last week! More of my time ( and sadly money) to Brett's work environment. I'm going to stop there with the details because I don't really want to talk about it much here, but that should be enough for you to keep me accountable to doing it!!
Alright! What did you guys think of Philippians 2? And those of you who didn't write up a chapter 1 study...no biggie! Would still love you thoughts on either chapter just link them up here! :-)