“Only, live as a citizen worthy of the Gospel of Christ, in order that if in coming and seeing you or in being absent, I might hear in regards to you that you are standing in one spirit — of one life, struggling along in the faith of the Gospel.”
There are few things more gratifying than seeing a person that you have mentored in the faith growing on his or her own and flourishing in the faith. And, in this case, it is not just an individual, but a church. Indeed, there are many who participate together in this process, for it is one who plants, another who waters, and God gives the growth (1 Corinthians 3:5-9), so often we are not privileged to see the fruit of our labors while we are still alive on this earth…it is about God’s glory and not our own, nevertheless, when God graces us with the privilege of seeing that fruit, it is a rich blessing indeed…and even if not in seeing, but in hearing, again, there is much joy in seeing the fruit develop that you have been privileged to care for.
Thus, it is Paul’s desire to see or hear of the Christians in Philippi being of one spirit and struggling together as one to live out the faith of the Gospel. And the reality is, living out a genuine faith, whether in times of persecution or not, is challenging. All too often Christians seek to live out their faith as individuals standing alone rather than as individuals who are part of a Christian body. All too often, for fear of embarrassment, Christians turn down the help of their brothers and sisters in faith who would be more than willing to walk alongside of them during times of trial…like the old pop song, goes: “Lean on me, when you’re not strong, and I’ll be a friend, help you to carry on…” That should be the mantra and expectation of life in the Christian church. To what end? To the end that we walk in spiritual strength and the sins that so often cause us to stumble and fall, do not plague our lives any longer.
“Thus he and the men that were with him ate and drank and lodged there. And they arose in the morning and he said, ‘Send me to my lord.’ And her brother and her mother said, ‘Let the girl stay with us about ten more days and then she may go.’ But he said to them, ‘You should not detain me for Yahweh has prospered my way; send me that I may go to my lord.’”
We can only infer what it is that is causing Laban and their mother to seek to delay Rebekah’s return with Eliezer. While we are not told for sure, it seems likely that they have seen the wealth of this servant and have decided the longer he stays the more wealth he will lavish on them in return for their hospitality. Eliezer, ever the faithful servant, sees through their distraction and refuses to be delayed in his task.
Now here is an interesting bit to keep before our hearts and minds. Eliezer has a harsh ride through the wilderness ahead of him on the return ride home yet he is eager to embark on the journey because of the end result: the presentation of Rebekah to Isaac. It is interesting because we often seek to delay difficult paths that are before us as long as we are able — no matter how wonderful the end of the journey might promise. We are often quicker to remain comfortable in the worldly comforts that surround us at the moment than we are to leave those worldly comforts behind for a season to grow in faith and in relationship with God. How quick most of us would be to accept Laban’s offer of “hospitality” only to delay the trials before us.
Eliezer is a model to us of focus and determination. What pleases him is not his personal comfort but faithfully serving his master. Beloved, our master is Christ Jesus. Are you faithfully serving him? Are you quick to set aside the comforts of this life for the pathway that Christ has laid before you? Opportunities pass when we delay; loved ones, do not let your comfort or your fears of stepping out in difficult waters detain you from pursuing the path to which God is calling you to follow. John F. Kennedy once said, “We do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” Eliezer says to us across the ages, “We do these hard things not because they are comfortable for us, but because our joy is found in the joy of our master.” Let us pursue Christ no matter the cost or the risk not because it is easy or comfortable, but because it is joyous to please our Lord and Master and Savior and Friend.