Tell your family I said hello!
It’s a customary parting comment we can make when leaving the company of someone we care about and we wish to send that care to their family as well.
It’s a way of connecting with their world in an intimate way. We’re not just parting ways with them personally, we’re also acknowledging and embracing that we are parting ways with part of how they identify with their entire family.
As we arrive at the end of the letter to the Philippians, we find the same kind of heart-filled care for those interacting with it.
21 Greet all God’s people in Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. 22 All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.
23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
Philippians 4:21-23, NIV
In one sense, this conclusion to Paul’s letter to the Philippians is typical of the other New Testament letters. It is shorter than most endings and that is not necessarily surprising since Paul is writing from prison and because this entire letter is short.
What is significant is how the Apostle uses the brief conclusion. First, he reminds them to greet the entire church. This letter would have been read aloud before the entire church and would have been a warm greeting.
Next, he sends greetings from those who are with him. Most likely, this would be the Christians in the church in Rome. Paul was never alone.
Then he specifies those in Caesar’s household. These were most likely part of the cadres of slaves and freed slaves now serving as administrators for the Roman government. Since Philippi was an important city to Rome, it’s likely some of the Roman officials were known to the Philippian church.
Then his concluding sentence in verse 23 is a triumphant reminder of the joy we have in Jesus. It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and forget the bigger picture. We have been so blessed by the experience we have had with grace.
Being part of the family of faith means we not only experience the Lord’s grace as individuals, it means we experience the Lord’s grace as part of the entire family of faith.
As part of His Church, we witness the conversion of people crossing over from death to life. We experience baptism as an expression of the newness of life in Jesus. We rejoice with those who rejoice. We weep with those who weep. We dance on the mountain and mourn in the valley.
We are ambassadors of Jesus to the Earth. We bear His Name. We spread the Gospel. We right the injustices. We care for the sick, orphaned, widowed, and hurting.
This is the grace of the Lord Jesus in our spirits that show His grace to a world groping for something real.
“Life” is our mission field. We are His people. He has made a home in Heaven for us.
This world, dear readers, is not all there is. Our hope, future, purpose, and destiny is not from our circumstances, but in God who loved us with a cross.
Want more like this? Consider my book: 31 Days of Spiritual Wisdom: A Month in the Proverbs. It is often said: knowledge knows a snake is in the grass and wisdom is staying out of the grass. While that creates a good working definition, there is undoubtedly more to applying knowledge than that. Moving through a selection of verses from a chapter of Proverbs for every day of the month, I walk readers through a journey of spiritual formation applicable to everyday life. The goal? Knowing how to apply the wisdom of Scripture so we grow in our faith, become wiser, and show the world the life-changing power of Jesus.