Philippians 1: 24-25 “It is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.”
Paul was convinced that by continuing to live and to serve, the Christians in Philippi would grow in their faith. He was certain they would find greater joy in their faith in Jesus. I want you to note something about Paul’s confidence. He has no visible proof that this would happen. He is talking about a future event. He is talking about inner attitudes and emotions that can’t be seen or measured.
But Paul knew how God’s word works. God promises that it won’t return to him empty. It will accomplish what he desires and achieve the purpose for which he sent it. Paul knew that he was serving under the power of the living Jesus who had risen from the dead. That meant doing as he once encouraged the Corinthians, “Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58b).
So Paul was convinced that their faith would grow. Even more, these Philippian Christians would be lifted up in joy, and that joy would so fill them that it would overflow.
Sometimes it’s hard for us to see how the things we do for Jesus, or the words we speak for him, are doing any good. Our evangelism efforts don’t always mean another person in the pew. Our words of Christian comfort don’t seem to dry any tears or bring any relief. Our Sunday school classes don’t transform our students into eager, well-behaved biblical scholars. Our cleaning and our fixing have to be repeated over and over, and maybe it’s hard to see what that has to do with real church work anyway.
Remember that faith and joy are not so clearly visible to our eyes. They can’t be measured by any human instruments. The promise of your living Savior is that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. Since God blesses our service to him, we can rejoice even when the fruit of our labor hard to see. We can trust that our service will help to bring faith and joy to others.
A member of a church I once served always greeted me on Sunday morning with, “It’s a beautiful day.” It could be pouring rain for a week. It could be as dry as dust and as hot as blazes. It could be bitter cold. It was always a beautiful day. He was right, and it’s still a beautiful day for us to trust God’s promises and serve his people with joy.