Paul pauses to do a little housekeeping and give a praise report. He shares his heart concerning two men that are precious to both him and this congregation.
Timothy is someone very near to Paul’s heart. He is like a son to him. His is his spiritual son but Paul feels an even closer bond to him. This bond was forged through trials and commitment. Timothy was willing to do whatever he could to help Paul. He was a faithful servant, an eager student, and a devoted brother in Christ. Paul was very blessed by Timothy. I believe God sent him as a comfort for all he was to go through.
God sends us friends. “Three types of friends: friends for a season, friends for a reason, and friends for a lifetime.” I don’t know who wrote this but it is so true. I believe Timothy was certainly in the last category and fit the other two also. We know Timothy didn’t remain at Paul’s side for the rest of his life but his heart was always with him. Paul encouraged Timothy as a young minister and held him up in prayer all the time.
The second part of our reading is Paul’s praise report for the prayers of this body. Their brother, who went to Paul to be of service, fell seriously ill. But their prayers and Paul’s prayers were answered and he was healed. This was another friend that God sent to Paul. I think he fit the first two categories very well. He remained a brother in Christ but didn’t stay as close to Paul as Timothy did. He was sent to bring comfort to Paul from the Philippian body (reason) and stayed with Paul for a little while (season). However, he was also used by God for another reason; to show His faithfulness and power in his healing. I’m certain the church was more than happy to see their prayers answered.
I thank God for the friends he has sent me over my lifetime. I honestly can’t name a “friend” outside of my family who I would classify as a lifetime friend, but the ones He provided for the “reasons” and “seasons” have been a blessing. He knows exactly what I need at each moment in my life. He knows what you need to, and when. I wonder if He will ever send me a “lifetime” friend. If not, that’s ok too. My family fills in here, even when neither of us wants it to be so. I think that’s why they are for a lifetime, because no matter what they are still there for me and me for them.
Father God, thank You for providing me with friends. Thank You for also providing me with loving family members that are my “lifetime friends” as well. I don’t know where I would be without them. I can’t imagine how people who are estranged from their families make it through this life. I know my relationship with some of my family members could stand some improvement. Please forgive me for my part in those relationships. Some of the distance is for my own protection though. For those relationships Jesus, please heal the issues on the other side so we can be close again. And if those issues are mine, please make that clear to me so I can work on them. Right now my friend list is pretty short, but I know that too is in Your hands and for a reason and season.