In a time when everything seems to be mass produced, when people seek out brands of clothes because everyone is wearing that brand, when to be different seems bad, is there anything that is one of a kind? Actually there are several things that are unique, one of a kind. Jesus Christ is a one of a kind Savior, Lord, High Priest and friend. There are all kinds of other religious groups who claim a savior of some kind, but none of them even claim to be what Jesus was and is. When Paul was writing to the Corinthian Christians he mentioned in chapter one of the first letter that some were calling themselves by the names of Peter, some Paul, some Apollos and some Christ. He asked some simple questions. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized in the name of Paul? He said, I thank God I didn’t baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius so that no one would claim that I was baptizing people in my name. It was foolish to put men, no matter how good they were on the same level with Jesus. None have the marks of deity and humanity that he does. None have paid the price of crucifixion that he did. None reign at the right hand of the Majesty on high like he does.
The Bible is a one of a kind book. I love books and enjoy reading many different kinds of books, but no other book is like the Bible. I’ve read a few other books more than once, but not many. Most of the time if I’ve read it once I will seldom if ever pick it up again. But the Bible calls us back to it over and over again. What is so amazing is that every time one reads it, even if reading the same set of verses over and over again they will see different things in it depending on where they are and what they are going through.
People can be unique. I know that we want to fit in and often do almost anything not to stand out in a crowd. But we can be one of a kind. When Paul wrote to the Philippians he challenged all followers of Christ to have the mind or attitude of Christ who being in very nature God, didn’t see equality with God as something to be grasp, but he emptied himself and took on himself the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of man. Being found in fashion as a man he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of a cross.
I can imagine the Philippians when they read the charge to have the mind of Christ, thinking to themselves, “How can we possibly have the mind of Christ? We aren’t God in a human body. How can he even ask us to have his mind?”
Paul proceeded to describe what he meant by telling them to have that mind by saying they should work out their own salvation with respect and awe, “For it is God who works in you to will and do according to his good pleasure.” He told them to do all things without murmuring or complaining. “That you may be blameless and harmless the sons of God without rebuke in the middle of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding out the word of Christ, so I won’t have run in vain.” Having the mind of Christ was to not be a complainer. It was to live right in the very middle of a world gone wrong.
But I suspect they said again, “How can we do that?” He then gives them two examples of ordinary people who had that mind that they knew and could follow. First he told of Timothy. He said, “I don’t have anyone else like Timothy who will naturally care about your situation. All seek their own, not the things of the Lord.” Timothy wasn’t a perfect man. But he was a good, faithful worker who had a tender, caring heart for others.
Secondly, Paul told of Epaphroditus who was a minister among them who had come from Philippi to help Paul out. He had risk his life trying to take care of Paul and had become deathly sick in the process. He was coming back to them now that God had spared his life. He told them to receive him back and encourage him.
Focus on Timothy for a moment. He was timid. He had stomach problems that hindered him. He had grown up in a difficult family situation with his mother a Jew and his dad a Greek. It had meant that he often wasn’t accepted anywhere. He had plenty of excuses if he had wanted to use them. But he was a great servant and a faithful friend to Paul.
Truthfully we are all one of a kind. There is no one else just like us, with the same talents, abilities, opportunities and spiritual gifts that we have. None are capable of being good at being someone else. But any of us can make the best one of us possible. Instead of trying to be sure you fit in, why not rejoice in your unique status. You are one of a kind. Imagine what God can accomplish through you.