If the Lord Jesus is willing, I hope to send Timothy to you soon for a visit. Then he can cheer me up by telling me how you are getting along. 20 I have no one else like Timothy, who genuinely cares about your welfare. 21 All the others care only for themselves and not for what matters to Jesus Christ. 22 But you know how Timothy has proved himself. Like a son with his father, he has served with me in preaching the Good News. 23 I hope to send him to you just as soon as I find out what is going to happen to me here. 24 And I have confidence from the Lord that I myself will come to see you soon.
25 Meanwhile, I thought I should send Epaphroditus back to you. He is a true brother, co-worker, and fellow soldier. And he was your messenger to help me in my need. 26 I am sending him because he has been longing to see you, and he was very distressed that you heard he was ill. 27 And he certainly was ill; in fact, he almost died. But God had mercy on him—and also on me, so that I would not have one sorrow after another.
28 So I am all the more anxious to send him back to you, for I know you will be glad to see him, and then I will not be so worried about you. 29 Welcome him in the Lord’s love and with great joy, and give him the honor that people like him deserve. 30 For he risked his life for the work of Christ, and he was at the point of death while doing for me what you couldn’t do from far away.Philippians 2:19-30
The first time I led a worship service my knees were shaking like nobody’s business. I was consciously incompetent. Funny thing: I thought I had chosen something I could do better than preach the sermon that Sunday. My friend and I were offered the opportunity to hold “Reading Services” for a small church in Kennett, Missouri.
This church had lost their pastor and wanted to be able to worship. So Jerry, my partner in all manner of life from our high school and college years, and I were given the opportunity to serve them. One would lead the service. The other would “preach.” By preaching would mean we would functionally memorize a sermon from a book of sermons that was provided to us, and then deliver it with little reference to the book or written pages.
I thought preaching would be more difficult than leading the service. But as soon as I got up to lead that first Sunday, I realized how wrong I was. You have to know when to stand up, when to sit down, when to face the altar and when to face the people. And you had to be confident enough to direct the people of the congregation to do that as well!
I had been unconsciously incompetent until I stepped in front of the congregation. Then I learned just how incompetent I was. Thankfully I’ve learned a bit since then.
I’ve preached and led worship for more than 40 years. That gives me some degree of confidence. But more important than all the years of practice is the substance of what I preach and the confidence I have in the word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Give me a struggling preacher with great confidence in the truth of God’s word and the power of the Holy Spirit before a silver tongued preacher with great eloquence and no reliance on the Holy Spirit any day.
In other words, give me Paul. Some say Paul had a speech impediment. He even alludes to that in 2 Corinthians 11:6. But Paul had a great confidence in God, in Jesus Christ, and in the power of the Holy Spirit. He shows that when he says, “And I have confidence from the Lord that I myself will come to see you soon.”
Paul had much to boast about. He provides a list of his bona fides in 2 Corinthians 11:21-23. But that is not where his confidence lies. True confidence lies in the love of Jesus, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the goodness of the Father. That was good enough for Paul. It’s good enough for me.