There are two elements in this passage that make it a challenge to teach and a challenge to hear. In other words, it's hard for both speaker and listener. For the teacher it drops suddenly from the doctrinal heights of the previous verses. Suddenly we're left fumbling with Paul's desire to perhaps visit a local church and his plans to send someone else until he knows his own future. That's really about it.
For the listener (or reader) it's also a challenging text because few of us can easily relate to the emphasis Paul places on commitment to mission and sacrifice in Timothy and Epaphroditus. These men were both full-time missionary types who paid such a price for their calling, literally coming close to giving up their lives. Of course we admire them for this but we really can't quite relate. How do we - as Canadian citizens blessed with freedom, independence and prosperity - how do we trace our lives around the examples of Timothy and Epaphroditus?
North American culture can't understand any commitment that isn't directly related to the fulfillment of self. Paul's praise for Timothy and Epaphroditus reads like Latin in our ears. The summons of every dominant cultural voice is the clarion call to be true to self - not true to Christ. There is nothing in our culture to reinforce the kind of character Paul not only praises, but calls the whole church to imitate.
Rev. Don Horban - May 29, 2016
Rev. Don Horban - May 22, 2016
Rev. Don Horban - May 01, 2016
Rev. Don Horban - April 17, 2016
Rev. Don Horban - April 10, 2016
Rev. Don Horban - March 20, 2016
Rev. Don Horban - March 06, 2016
Rev. Don Horban - February 21, 2016
Rev. Don Horban - January 31, 2016
Rev. Don Horban - January 17, 2016
Rev. Don Horban - January 10, 2016
Rev. Don Horban - January 03, 2016