"I thank my God every time I remember you." - Philippians 1:3 (NIV)
It's wonderful to see God's goodness manifested through the natural splendor of creation, and in the progressive courses of human history and even through the gradual maturity of our own personal development.
But it's just as wonderful to see the goodness of God personified in the people with whom we live every day.
After being completely let down by the segregationist policies of the Christian churches in Calcutta, India, Ghandi declared: "I would be a Christian, if it weren't for the Christians."
How many times have we felt the need to look beyond Christians in order to find Christ?
And yet, the communities of Christians have never been entirely bereft of Christian integrity. In the city of Philippi, located in the southern Balkans of Southeast Europe, the Apostle Paul encountered what he believed to be genuine Christian community.
Philippi was a community in which the Gospel of Christ was promoted through love and care for every person, including Paul, who was not native to the community. At Philippi, Paul not only preached the Gospel, Paul saw the Gospel lived through the compassion and communion of those who received the Gospel.
Sometime after his departure from Philippi, Paul writes to the Philippian believers and lets them know that every time he thinks of them, he has another reason to praise God.
The moments we spend with others will soon become memories.
What are we doing? What are we saying? How are we living to ensure that the memories we leave behind will inspire rejoicing and not regret?
Lord, may the life I live speak for me. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.