Good Journey and Chance Meetings
or The Path to Peace
4 Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy and crown, so stand firm in the Lord, my beloved.
2 I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord. 3 Indeed, true comrade, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. NASB
Euodia – Her name means “good journey” . And her friends name, Syntyche means “to meet by accident” “a chance meeting” or “a co-incidental meeting”. That is why I chose the name Good Journey and Chance Meeting for this message.
When is a journey good? Is it when there are no surprises? The accidents along the way test us. They test our faith in the Lord. The other day we spoke about the roller coaster. Who enjoys the roller coaster? Is it the one who is fearful and closes their eyes and holds on for dear life? OR is it the one who abandons themselves to the ride and trusts that it will stay on the track and just enjoys the ride?
Life is full of surprises, of co-incidental or chance meetings. Who is in control of life? Are you living under the mistaken idea that you are in control? Do you treat those around you with impatience and grumpiness because you think they are the ones who are messing up your perfect world?
Life with Christ is a journey. He desires to go with us on this journey. He tries to get our attention and help us to see that He is in control and that is okay. When the surprises come, we can relax and enjoy the trip. He loves us and will never forsake us. When we are trusting Him during the surprises of life we are having a Good Journey.
Paul appeals to his“true comrade” to help these women get along. Some versions of the Bible bring the Greek over into English assuming that Paul was speaking to a specific person whose name happened to be Syzygus. Syzygus means “true comrade”.
Paul is calling these two Christian ladies to live in harmony, to live at peace together, to get along. He calls on his co-workers to help them to work out their differences. They have all been working together to bring the gospel message to others. They need to get along. So how do they do that?
First, they need to Rejoice in the Lord. He re-emphasizes this. He repeats himself to drive the point home. Rejoice always.
Along with this, let your forbearing spirit be known to all men. Forbearing – probably not a term we are really familiar with. Some of our modern translations use the word gentleness. Let your gentleness be known to all men.
Forbear. What does it mean to for-bear. A bear is a grumpy beast. If you are for a bear, you are rooting for him. So it must mean that we should be rooting for being grumpy. Does that sound right?
No, I do not think so either. Actually it means just the opposite. We should be against being grumpy. Remember the TV show Gentle Ben? When you see the word, or a form of the word forbear, think of the bear, Gentle Ben.
Forbearance is like patience. When we are gentle with people and patient with them we are being forbearing. Those of us who are rejoicing in the Lord are learning to be patient with people's shortcomings. We gently correct them and are patient with them as they learn to walk with the Lord.
Rejoice and be gentle with people. Hold it, that was Rejoice in the Lord. Not rejoicing for no reason, but rejoicing in the Lord. We are in the Lord when we are trusting Him. We are in the Lord when we are walking in the Spirit.
So, rejoice in the Lord. Be gentle with people. I think we are on to something. This is the beginning of living in harmony with each other.
So what else does Paul tell them to do as they work with Co-incidental Meeting and Good Journey?
He reminds them that the Lord is near. Now many take this as a statement that the second coming is at hand and I do not have a problem with that interpretation, but I personally think it means that the Lord is close to us. He is near. We are not in the process of walking the walk alone. The Spirit of God is God with us. He is near. We always need to remember this. It is not clear whether Paul meant the second coming is at hand or if he meant God is always near. Perhaps God meant for us to be unclear on this so His Spirit could remind us that both are true.
Co-incidental Meeting and Good Journey may have forgotten that the Lord is near. They became more concerned about getting their own way than about the Lord and His business. We all need to be reminded that the Lord is near. Knowing that, believing that, living as if that is true will change us. We will acknowledge His presence in all the circumstances of our life. This is something we have in common. This unites us and makes us one. This is the basis of living in harmony, of living at peace with one another.
And because we know He is with us, we can quit worrying. That is the next thing Paul brings up. Be anxious for nothing. This is what Jesus told Martha when she invited Jesus to her house and her sister, Mary, sat at Jesus feet and left all the work of cooking and cleaning to Martha. Martha complained and asked Jesus to reprimand Mary. Jesus told Martha that she was concerned or worried about so many things, but Mary had taken the better part and was sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to His teaching.
This was the idea behind what Jesus said about the seed of the Word falling among weeds and thorns and being choked out by the cares of the world. Be anxious for nothing. Cast all your care upon Jesus. This is not the same as carelessness. It is entrusting your life into the hands of the only one that can take care of you. It is believing that God is with us and will lead us where He wants us to go and will provide for us all that we need.
On Wednesday evenings we have been talking about The Bible and having devotions. I thought it interesting that my devotion for Thursday included this passage from Luke:
22 And He said to His disciples, "For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. 23 "For life is more than food, and the body than clothing. 24 "Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; and they have no storeroom nor barn; and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! 25 "And which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life's span? 26 "If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why are you anxious about other matters? 27 "Consider the lilies, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these. 28 "But if God so arrays the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you, O men of little faith! 29 "And do not seek what you shall eat, and what you shall drink, and do not keep worrying. 30 "For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. 31 "But seek for His kingdom, and these things shall be added to you.” NASB
Simply put, worry is a sin. Allow the Lord to lead you in making your plans, and then trust Him to help you carry them out. Take care of what He entrusts you with, but once you have been faithful, trust Him with the rest. Leave what you cannot control in the hands of the only one who can control it.
Paul says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
Talk to God about everything. Ask for His help. Thank Him for the help He has given and for the help He will give. Let Him know what you want, but then leave it in His hands. Trust Him. Rejoice in His grace and mercy and love. Trusting Him to lead and guide and give what He knows you need.
The result will be the peace of God that surpasses anything we can comprehend will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
This is the formula for living in harmony with one another. God supplies the peace. We walk in it, rejoicing in His presence, trusting Him to meet our needs.
We can be patient with those who disagree with us when we are trusting God to work through us. We can have a good journey and face the chance meetings and unexpected circumstances that come our way with trust in the God who loves us, the God who is our Lord.