Today is Tuesday, so the work day started at 8:00am with a staff meeting. As usual, I had us take a few minutes to turn to Scripture before getting into the business in the agenda I had put together. Today we read Philippians 1:3-11. Our ABIDE staff does good work, and I wanted to use Paul’s words to appreciate them.
But I was especially focused on his prayer in verses 9-11.
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:3-11 NIV)
You see, this is week #24 in ABIDE, out of 26. We are drawing near to the end of our time with these students…and it is a busy season. There are always challenges in ministry, especially residential ministry, but they often seem to escalate at the end. We have daily concerns, preparation for visitors, graduation plans, tight finances, ministry opportunities, exams to administer, and so much more. But in the midst of all that busyness, we can’t forget one of our core values: relationships.
It can be very easy to focus on programs instead of people at any time (I admit I am often guilty if this!), but especially as we approach the finish line. So in the midst of a tight schedule and difficult situations, I asked the staff to join me in having the heart of Paul when he wrote to the church in Philippi.
I want our love to abound more and more in knowledge an depth of insight.
I want us to discern what is best so that we can be blameless.
I want us to display the fruit of righteousness.
I want God to receive the glory for all that we say and do, especially in these last weeks of the 2014 program.
I want us to be focused on relationships in the midst of all things, making decisions led by the Holy Spirit, not on our own.
Will you join us and pray for me and the rest of the ABIDE staff?
I also encourage you to consider applying this prayer to your own life and situations.
After talking through several concerns, plans, announcements, etc. on the agenda, I brought us back where we had started, and read verses 9-11 again. You see, now that we had all these challenges, schedules, and responsibilities fresh in our minds, the need for this prayer became even more apparent than it had less than an hour before when we first gathered.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11 NIV)