Philippians on Friday: Here’s a Mop!

Thanks for joining me for our Philippians on Friday devotion.

Philippians 2:22: that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel.

We have focused the last few weeks on Paul’s frustration with a shortage of quality leaders and why Timothy was the one sent by Paul to minister to the Philippians. We’ve discussed Timothy’s unselfish attitude and genuine motives.

Before we move to the next passage in chapter two, let’s look at one more reason why Paul used timothy for the important assignment of traveling to Philippi to check on the Philippians: Timothy had proven himself by serving with Paul!

22 But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel.

Growing Up in the Church

I grew up in the church. My father was the pastor. As young teenager in a pastor’s family, I did just about every remedial task possible in our small, new church. My dad worked me! He said, “so, you want to do something for God and be used by God? Ok, here’s a mop!” I cleaned the church bathrooms. I cut the church grass. My father and I were at every Saturday work day. I manned the nursery. I taught about every Sunday school class at one time or another. There is probably not any job in the local church that I wasn’t given to do while growing up in the church.

PhilippiansI served in a variety of places long before I ever stood behind a pulpit and preached a sermon. Many times my spiritual ambitions and dreams seemed loftier than the mundane jobs I was given by my father.

I’ve learned a lot since those early years in a small home mission’s church. I’ve learned that dad knew what he was doing when he handed me a broom. Remedial tasks often serve to prove whether a person is ready for greater responsibility:

Matthew 25:21 – …thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things….

A Sign to a Father

A willingness to serve wherever needed proved to my father that I was ready to be given greater responsibility in the church. Those who feel like they’re too good to clean Sunday school classrooms, cut the church grass or pick up people for Sunday school are really not ready for greater spiritual responsibilities like ministering the Word of God or overseeing the Church of God.

Timothy served alongside Paul as a “son with the father.” Typically the son is given what many think are less honorable tasks. But Timothy’s willingness to be a servant and do whatever task given proved to Paul that Timothy was ready for more responsibility.

A Sign to the Philippians

Not only did Timothy’s heart of a servant prove something to Paul, it proved something to the Philippians!

…But ye know the proof of him….

The Philippians knew the heart of Timothy, because they knew his record of faithfulphilippians service. They received the ministry of Timothy because they had seen the faithful service of Timothy. I know young men or women who wonder why some don’t readily receive their ministry. Perhaps it’s because the “some” have been a silent witness of an unwillingness to serve. Or perhaps they’ve seen an arrogant attitude that says, “I’m too good to clean a church bathroom!”

I didn’t do all those remedial tasks in the church to be seen of men.   I don’t think that ever crossed my mind. But the church folks must have seen me doing them. And when the time came to step in the role of the pastor of that church, the saints had no trouble in submitting to my spiritual leadership and honoring me as their pastor.

I’m certainly not likening myself to Timothy nor pinning a star on my lapel. This story in Philippians just reminds me of how grateful I am for a father who knew what he was doing when he gave me the church mower. Looking back now, I’m so thankful God helped me have a willingness to serve. Serving as a young man in our church opened the door to greater spiritual responsibility. Had I not be willing to serve “as a son with the father,” perhaps I wouldn’t be the pastor of Faith Apostolic Church today.

~Matthew Ball

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