The Virtue of Acknowledging Others

In a recent post I encouraged readers to practice meditating on Scripture by reflecting on one word at a time. The previous two posts have employed this method, going through Philippians 1:1

However, maybe today we meet our Waterloo. The word is “and.” The book begins with “Paul and.” Is it possible to be blessed by meditating on “and”?

Actually, in this context the presence of “and” is quite striking. The Apostle Paul dominated the early church scene, being the apostle to the Gentiles, evangelizing new territory, planting numerous churches, and ultimately writing almost half of the New Testament books. Whose name was worthy to be joined with his? We tend not to hear of “Einstein and …” or “Babe Ruth and….” They are in a class by themselves. So why should Paul share the limelight?

This question is especially valid considering that Paul actually wrote the letter. In Philippians 2:19 he says, “But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly…” which tells us that Paul was the author.

Nonetheless, Paul wanted to acknowledge Timothy’s presence, continued ministry, and importance. And this was Paul’s practice. Of his 13 epistles, three were personal letters to his workers in which the mention of others would have been inappropriate. In the ten remaining epistles Paul mentions others in his greeting in all but two.

Consequently, the word “and” in Philippians 1:1 reminds us that acknowledging others is an expression of agape, a Christian virtue. I’m sure that Paul’s acknowledgment of these coworkers served as an encouragement to them.

Paul’s example should challenge all of us to reflect on whether we display this propensity, highlighting the importance and contribution of coworkers and friends. Doing so costs nothing and can be a substantial blessing to others.

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