Reorienting our Focus Pt 1

Reorienting our Focus Pt 1
“For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.”
Phil. 2:19-24

Paul had a problem.  He deeply cared about the people in Philippi and was concerned about their welfare.  However, as much as he longed to visit with them to encourage them, he could not.  At this point, Paul was sitting in the confines of a jail cell.  He was facing an uncertain future where he did not know if he would be released.  While he was in prison, he could still enjoy the visits of fellow believers and their fellowship.  One of his companions was Timothy.  Timothy had become Paul’s protégé whom Paul was mentoring and preparing to take over the ministry when Paul’s ministry was complete.  Timothy was someone that Paul could rely upon and was a fellow laborer in his work.  He first encountered Timothy on his 2nd missionary journey when Paul had come to Lystra and met him.  Timothy was part Jew and part Greek; thus, he would serve as the perfect bridge for reaching both the Jews and the Greeks since he was well-versed in each culture. His mother and Grandmother, although Jewish, were both believers in Jesus and had raised Timothy in the faith.  Immediately, Paul recognized that Timothy was a person whom he could mentor and prepare for ministry.  As a result, Timothy would be the one to whom Paul would pass the baton of ministry.  Timothy proved to be a faithful companion and a person that Paul could trust to send to troubled churches to encourage and strengthen them.  In Timothy, Paul found a “kindred spirit.”  Timothy not only shared Paul’s passion for Christ, but he also shared Paul’s passion for the growth and maturity of the church. Timothy would be more than just a proverbial “son I never had” (vs. 22).  He would prove to be a coworker, encourager, and friend.
Timothy stands in contrast to others who had initially become part of Paul’s ministry team.  Some had initially expressed a desire to be part of ministry, but in the end, they were more concerned about their interests rather than advancing Christ’s kingdom.  This points us back to the Great Commission.  The call of Christ to advance his kingdom by making disciples of all nations is a task given to every Christian regardless of their location, job, or circumstance.  We often view the ministry of proclaiming Christ as the task of pastors, missionaries, and seminary professors.  However, within scripture, it is a task given to everyone.  Each of us has been given a unique ability to use within the context of the church to strengthen the church and advance Christ’s mission of establishing his kingdom.  While the task is given to everyone, the place we serve is individual.  For a pastor, his ministry for Christ is performed in the church.  For the farmer, he advances Christ’s redemptive work by ministry to other farmers.  For the nurse, her calling is to serve Christ by being a witness to her patience.  A mechanic serves Christ by being a witness to the people who own the cars he repairs. We need to reorient the focus of our life. To serve Christ is to recognize that we are all given different locations and spheres of influence in which we advance his interests.  The question we must ask is not, “Am I called to ministry?” Instead, we must ask ourselves, “What is my sphere where God has placed me to serve him, and how am I to serve him in this sphere?”
In the course of life, we can quickly lose sight of Christ’s agenda.  We can get so caught up in the pursuit of our careers, our goals, and our plans that we forget about him.  We have different careers but the same mandate.  We have different spheres in which we influence people, but we have the same message to communicate to them.  As you start your day, ask God to use you in your daily activities and encounters with people to be a witness for him. When that becomes our focus, we have the proper priority and interest in life.

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