I’ve come to the end of my lectio divina study of the book of Philippians, and here’s what stands out for me in the last chapter.
“…. my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and my crown ….” Phil. 4:1
When our children were young my husband used to tell them, “people are more important than things.” In other words, we should never sacrifice our relationships with others in order to attain some temporal item or reward. I also remember James Dobson saying in a talk that when his father died, he did not mourn for the way his dad had provided for him materially; he missed and remembered the things they had done together, like fishing.
In this verse, Paul is expressing his love for the Christians of Philippi. This is what gives him joy, this is what makes his life meaningful. I believe when we come before God, and are judged (which we all will be), He will not be especially interested in the goals we have reached, the pious acts we can tote up, or the dollars we have donated. What will be important is how we have shown love to others. Have we served people sacrificially? Have we invested time in their well-being and spiritual growth? Have we helped them and listened to them in times of need? Have we prayed for them even (especially) when they are difficult? Have we been the face of Christ to others?
The book of Matthew tells us:
…. store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matt. 6:20-21
Paul’s treasure was the people he loved and served. What is your treasure? It’s worth thinking about.