Philippians 2:12-18 (NLT)
12 Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. 13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. 14 Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15 so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. 16 Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless. 17 But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy. 18 Yes, you should rejoice, and I will share your joy.
The apostle Paul writes to the Philippians that they should be like a bright shining star. They should live clean, innocent, and non-argumentative lives so they might stand out as a beacon for Christ. They should use the examples given them in the scriptures to live their life and make it pleasing to God. The world is full of those who are crooked and perverse; those who belong to Christ should outshine their deeds.
Sometimes there are stories we read which have an important message to share. The following is one such story which demonstrates how living for Christ can have a spreading impact on others.
In 1972, a young Egyptian businessman named Farahat lost an $11,000 watch. He was stunned when a garbage man dressed in filthy rags found it and returned it to him. Farahat asked him why he didn't just keep the watch. The garbage man said, "My Christ told me to be honest until
death." Farahat later told a reporter: "I didn't know Christ at the time, but I told [the garbage man] that I saw Christ in him. I told [him], 'Because of what you have done and your great example, I will worship the Christ you are worshiping.'"Farahat studied the Bible and grew in his faith. Two years later he visited the garbage man's village outside Cairo, where between 15,000 and 30,000 people were living in poverty and squalor. There was no electricity or running water. Alcohol, drugs, and gambling were pervasive. Men, women, and children sifted through huge mountains of garbage, looking for something of value that could be sold for cash or traded for food. Farahat found himself reflecting on the words of Jesus: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." He also remembered the words of the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 4:13: "We have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things." It was soon thereafter that Farahat and his wife began
ministering to people's spiritual and material needs. They preached the gospel throughout Egypt, and thousands of people turned to Christ.In 1978, Farahat was ordained by the Coptic Orthodox Church and became known as Father Sama'an. Now, about 10,000 believers meet in a large cave outside the garbage village. It is the largest church of believers in the Middle East. In May of 2005, a day of prayer was held for Muslims to turn to Christ. More than 20,000 Arab Christians gathered. The event was also broadcast on a Christian satellite TV network, where millions were watching. All this, because one garbage man chose to humbly return a watch that would have made him the richest man in town. (Jerry DeLuca, Montreal West, Canada; source: Joel C. Rosenberg, Epicenter, Tyndale House
Publishers (2006), p. 206)