I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. (Philippians 1:3-5)

I love receiving thank-you notes. In fact, I have a file folder filled with thank-you notes from parents, youth, co-workers and congregation members. I am grateful they took the time to encourage me in this way.

Philippians is known as a missionary thank-you letter. Paul is specific in his appreciation for the Philippian congregation and their partnership in the Gospel. Even when Paul could not be with them, they continued to work together to share the Gospel. They had different gifts, talents and abilities, but God brought them together for a common purpose: to share the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ in homes, workplaces, communities and the world. They encountered two main challenges: false teachers spread many conflicting messages; and believers, including Paul, were beaten and imprisoned. By God’s power, the church continued in ministry together. Even in suffering, the Philippians understood and taught that we are saved by faith in Christ alone and not in anything we do ourselves.

Paul knew that God would continue His work in the Philippian congregation, although he was not able to be with them. Just as Paul equipped the Philippians, the church equips God’s people for work in His kingdom, even in the challenges of a culture that teaches that we can save ourselves by our own actions.

Later in his ministry, Paul expressed his appreciation for the way the Philippian church worked together to share the Good News of Jesus Christ: “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” (Philippians 1:3-5). May God bless you as you work with others in this incredible partnership!

Reflect: What challenges to sharing the Gospel are present in your congregation? In your community? How can you encourage others with Paul’s words in Philippians 1?

Lord, thank You for claiming me as Your child and making me part of the Body of Christ. Thank You for the gift of faith in Christ. Thank You for including me in partnership with others to share the Gospel. Help me to find ways to encourage and include others in this partnership. In Jesus name, Amen!