Remembering With Gratitude (Theology for Living from Philippians)

I thank my God every time I remember you. (Paul’s Letter to the Philippians 1:3)

Do you remember your childhood with gratitude or with pain?  Do you remember your children with gratitude or regret?  Do you remember your church with gratitude?  As a leader Paul did not always remember the churches he planted with gratitude.  The Galatians caused him great distress when they came near to abandoning the true gospel.  The Corinthians pained him with their amazing carnality and growing distrust for Paul.

But the Philippian church, despite that fact that it was currently suffering disunity and strife, brought Paul much gratitude as he remembered them.  Its members had contributed again and again financially to his cause.  They had stood by him and suffered with him during persecution.  They had stayed faithful to the Lord Jesus and to Paul.  They loved him.

The flip side of God’s desire to use leaders is God’s desire that those who are led be those who bring joy and gratitude to their leaders.  Paul asks the Philippians to make his joy complete by being united in Christ (Philippians 2:1,2).  He asked them to obey him, not only in his presence but in his absence also (2:12,13).  He asked them to follow his example (3:17).  Paul longed for them to be good followers of his leadership.

The author to the Hebrews wrote:

Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you. (Hebrews 13:17)

What kind of follower are you?  Do you bring gratitude to the heart of your leader when he or she remembers you?  Or are you hyper-critical, contentious, rebellious, distrustful or unresponsive?  God will hold us accountable for how we followed just as much as He will hold leaders responsible for how they led.

Paul was willing to be poured out as a drink offering for the Philippians (2:17).  Are we willing to sacrifice for our leaders who love us and give of themselves for us?  Or do we expect them to do all the sacrificing?  Being a good follower is being a good leader at the same time because you are modeling the right posture toward your leader.  As husbands and wives submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21) they model for their children the way to submit to them as parents.  When we are good followers of our leaders at work we encourage others to take a right stance as well.

I want to be remembered with gratitude and to be rewarded by God as a good and faithful follower.


2 thoughts on “Remembering With Gratitude (Theology for Living from Philippians)

  1. I mostly fall under the hyper-critical and distrustful categories. Doh! I guess good leadership begets good followship, and good followship begets good leadership. The only question is, which comes first? I think for it to work, they must both happen simultaneously and unconditionally. No wonder leading (and following) are so hard!

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