Do everything readily and cheerfully - no bickering, no second-guessing allowed!
Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night
so I'll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns. You'll be living proof that I didn't go to all this work for nothing.
Even if I am executed here and now, I'll rejoice in being an element in the offering of your faith that you make on Christ's altar, a part of your rejoicing.
But turnabout's fair play - you must join me in my rejoicing. Whatever you do, don't feel sorry for me.
I plan (according to Jesus' plan) to send Timothy to you very soon so he can bring back all the news of you he can gather. Oh, how that will do my heart good!
I have no one quite like Timothy. He is loyal, and genuinely concerned for you.
Most people around here are looking out for themselves, with little concern for the things of Jesus.
But you know yourselves that Timothy's the real thing. He's been a devoted son to me as together we've delivered the Message.
As soon as I see how things are going to fall out for me here, I plan to send him off.
And then I'm hoping and praying to be right on his heels.
But for right now, I'm dispatching Epaphroditus, my good friend and companion in my work. You sent him to help me out; now I'm sending him to help you out.
He has been wanting in the worst way to get back with you. Especially since recovering from the illness you heard about, he's been wanting to get back and reassure you that he is just fine.
He nearly died, as you know, but God had mercy on him. And not only on him - he had mercy on me, too. His death would have been one huge grief piled on top of all the others.
So you can see why I'm so delighted to send him on to you. When you see him again, hale and hearty, how you'll rejoice and how relieved I'll be.
Give him a grand welcome, a joyful embrace! People like him deserve the best you can give.
Remember the ministry to me that you started but weren't able to complete? Well, in the process of finishing up that work, he put his life on the line and nearly died doing it.