I’ll be honest, I’m not the best sharer. It’s not for lack of want to share or that I fear vulnerability, per se. I’m just not that great at it.
Sharing “things” isn’t a huge problem, but sharing my self seems to be where I miss the mark. I’m all for engaging in a debate or theological conversation, but when it comes to sharing experiences or emotions, too often I remain silent or respond with few word, nondescript, answers.
“Hey, tell me about your day” “It was good.” “Ok… So… what happened? What made it good?” “Not much happened.”
My wife is very helpful to me in this area. (Did you know that marriage is a sanctifying endeavor?) More frequently than I’d like to acknowledge my wife reminds me to be more considerate to share my life and my experiences.
Another problem we often face is not lack of sharing, but sharing things with the wrong person. Has it ever felt easier to share things with people you aren’t that close with than those you love deeply? How much do we share on social media that we don’t in person? Sometimes it’s easier to share with a screen than another actual person.
Paul thanks the Philippians for being sharers in the Gospel. This sharing is not just sharing resources or money with Paul; it’s much more vulnerable and personal. The Greek here is Koinonia. Fellowship. They have fellowshipped with Paul in the Gospel. They have given their very selves to Paul and Paul’s ministry. They have authentic and rich community with Paul.
At first glance this passage may seem a strange one for the Second Sunday of Advent. This is highly pastoral and specific to the folks in Philippi. But with eyes to see we can recognize that it both points backwards to Christ’s incarnation and points forward to Christ’s coming again.
First, we see Paul encouraging the Philippians for sharing in a Christlike manner. He thanks them for sharing their life with him. This is what Christ did with us! Christ did not bring salvation to this world by sharing with us some stuff. No! Salvation was realized for us because Christ shared himself; because, through Christ, we have Koinonia, fellowship, with God. The Philippians are practicing incarnation.
But then we also have Paul pointing forward to “the day of Jesus Christ.” For Paul, eschatology is rooted in ecclesiology. “The day of Jesus Christ” is rooted in community and fellowship.
This Advent, maybe consider switching metrics. We’re going to have some Sundays this season where our numbers, be they attendance or giving, skyrocket. We’re going too have some Sundays this season where it feels like everyone is sick or on vacation. But what if those aren’t the metrics of the Kingdom.
Paul’s prayer for the Philippians isn’t that more people would join their congregation; it’s that their love would overflow more and more. Don’t hear what I’m not saying; we should be reaching out into our communities on mission. But let’s recognize that larger numbers do not necessarily equate with greater mission and preparation for the day of Jesus Christ.
Do we want to remember that Christ came to us? Do we want to anticipate Christ’s coming to us?
Then our love for one another needs to overflow more and more. We need to share more than our stuff, we need to share our very selves. We need to practice Kiononia; rich Christian fellowship where we share more than our stuff.
What if this is how we hasten the coming of Christ?