Scripture:I, Paul, thank my God every time I remember you Philippians, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:3-6, 9-11)
Reflection:In the thanksgiving section of his letter to the Philippians, Paul looks toward the end of time when Jesus Christ will return to the Earth in glory. That day, whenever it occurs, will be the time for the harvest of righteousness, namely, the ingathering of all those who developed a healthy relationship with God as they waited for Christ’s return. Paul is overjoyed that the Philippians, who accepted his gospel that Jesus died and was raised, have not abandoned their faith. Furthermore, Paul is confident that God will keep the process going until the day Christ returns, when he will bring it to completion and gather the “harvest of righteousness.”
Paul prays that the Philippians’ genuine love, that is, self-sacrifice, for each other will lead them to deep insight in order to know what is really important and best for each other while they await Christ’s return in glory. A husband who self-sacrifices himself for his wife because he genuinely loves her will reflect upon his experience of marriage and know what he needs to do for his beloved, even if it means denying himself something. Likewise, a wife, reflecting on her marriage and learning from her reflection what is best for her husband, will do the right thing, even if it means self-sacrifice, for the good of her marriage. One friend, who genuinely loves another friend, will deny himself or herself in order to do what is best for the other.
A healthy spirituality of mission enables people to do the right thing for others. Genuine love overflows with knowledge and insight as to what is best for another – a spouse, a friend, a coworker, a classmate, etc. – in order to be pure and blameless, having produced a harvest of righteousness. In the words of Paul in his letter to the Romans, believers should let love be genuine; they should outdo one another in showing honor. If each person did this, then each person would be placed ahead of everyone else, creating a community of believers who spur each other toward a harvest of righteousness when Christ returns in glory.
Journal/Meditation: If Christ were to return in glory today, what would be the harvest he would gather from you?
Prayer:Thank you, God, for the gospel of your Son. I am confident that the good work you have begun in me will be brought to completion on the day when Christ returns in glory. Grant that my love may overflow with knowledge and insight to determine what is best, that I may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, who is Lord forever and ever. Amen.