I think it goes without saying that St. Paul is one of the greatest missionary figures of the New Testament. In fact, most of the Epistle writings are those of St. Paul to the churches that he founded and they leave us with an enormous amount of theology, spirituality, missiology, and the like.
St. Paul was under some sort of house arrest in Rome between AD 61-63 and that is the time that most scholars believe he wrote his letter to his Church in Philippi. In the opening sentences of that letter (verse 6 to be exact) he says, “being confident of this very thing He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
What is St. Paul saying will be completed in the through Jesus Christ? In the previous verse he mentions the “fellowship in the Gospel” and he is pleased with that. The Philippian Church had taken up a collection and sent it to Paul who was in desperate need of those funds. They had been faithful and St. Paul is writing to thank them for their generosity. But it is more than that.
The Greek work “koinonia” is central in St. Paul’s writing in this Epistle and to the Church that had formed in Philippi. But this sense of fellowship is also central to the life of Orthodox Christianity. This word moves past friendship and implies true communion, communion not only in the sense of the Sacramental action but in the care and love that the people have for each other and those in need.
Care for each other and for those around us is fundamental to our lives as Christians, we do not have a choice to help or not, we are commanded to care for those around us. In one sense we are accountable to each other for not only what we do but what we do not do. If we see someone in need we must help them, we must give them our coat, our food, or other help they might need. But it has to go deeper than that.
Feeding and clothing people is wonderful and it is a fulfillment of the Gospel command, but we also have to feed and clothe them spiritually. We have to share our lives with them and bring them to the love and light of Jesus Christ. This is what the Church in Philippi was doing and tis is the reason St. Paul wrote to them.
Share what you have with those in need, food, clothing, money, but also share what God has given you and that is life in Christ.