Just a few things to say about this passage.
One, is that I’m grateful that Paul displays his vulnerability. He admits his anxiety. He’s a real human. That means a lot to me.
Two… well, two examples of what I mean here. The first is watching Iowa basketball in their final tournament game. Garza at the end of the game was filled with emotion at the finality of his career at Iowa. He went from player to player and then finally a glance up at his dad in the stands and a lasting, knowing hug from his head coach.
The second example is from Sam’s tennis match. During the singles match Sam was in a grind. He ended up winning a hard fought match. The moment that struck me—almost to tears, though, was during an amazing back and forth point, Sam made a great shot to set up the winner at the net. A smash.
From across the way, on a different set of courts, his doubles partner, JP, was watching the point and after the winner yawped out “yeah Sam!!!”
The knowing connections. The mutual respect. The days spent grinding and sweating and losing and winning and training some more. The days that yield the trust and admiration and communion.
It’s what I see in the way Paul talks about Timothy and Epaphroditus. He knows. He has seen them grow and mature. They’re his guys. Yeah. I get that.
“I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I may be cheered by news of you. I have no one like him who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare. All of them are seeking their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But Timothy’s worth you know, how like a son with a father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. I hope therefore to send him as soon as I see how things go with me; and I trust in the Lord that I will also come soon. Still, I think it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus—my brother and co-worker and fellow soldier, your messenger and minister to my need; for he has been longing for all of you, and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. He was indeed so ill that he nearly died. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, so that I would not have one sorrow after another. I am the more eager to send him, therefore, in order that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious. Welcome him then in the Lord with all joy, and honor such people, because he came close to death for the work of Christ, risking his life to make up for those services that you could not give me.”
Philippians 2:19-30 NRSV