Friday May 29, 2020
10 I rejoice in the Lord greatly that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned for me, but had no opportunity to show it. 11 Not that I am referring to being in need; for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. 14 In any case, it was kind of you to share my distress.
15 You Philippians indeed know that in the early days of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you alone. 16 For even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me help for my needs more than once. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the profit that accumulates to your account. 18 I have been paid in full and have more than enough; I am fully satisfied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. 19 And my God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.Philippians 5:10-19 (NRSV)
Philippians 4:13 is a bible verse that has been used as motivation for athletes, students, musicians, and many others. It is sometimes written on shoes, cleats, jerseys, banners, and anywhere that can be easily seen.
But the verse is used by Paul here in a deeper way than a lot of people have viewed this verse. Paul was in prison, and he had been sent a financial gift from those who he had ministered to, so that his time in prison wasn’t as bad as it could have been without their help.
He’s not sure whether he would be set free from this prison, or if he would remain in prison until he would be executed.
He’s already processed in chapter 1 that if he were to die, that wouldn’t be the worse thing; in fact, if he would die, he would go to be with our God in paradise. If he lived, and was released, he would be able to continue to minister to others so that they continue to grow in faith.
And so, when Paul writes “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”, he is saying that whether he lives, or dies, whether he is in prison for a day longer, or until his death, that Paul was content with whatever the Lord decided for his life. He was recognizing that no matter what happens, he can get through it through the help and strength of Christ.
It is hard to get to the point where we are as content as Paul was.
The littlest of things that happen can wreck our day, and cause us to only focus on the negative.
Drastic and real challenges will face us, and we will seldom see any good that could come out of it.
To get to the point where we accept what has happened, and are content with the outcome, usually takes us a long time, and it generally only comes after whatever it was that happened has already sealed our fate.
But Paul was content WITHIN his trial, within prison, and within the uncertainty of whether he would be released or whether he would be executed.
But he was ONLY content because of his faith in Christ, who gives him the strength to keep going, no matter what might happen.
We can learn from Paul when we face things that cause us stress, fear, and anxiety, when we turn to God in prayer.
We can join Paul’s hope when we realize that Christ understands whatever we may face, and offers us empathy, and the hope of paradise.
We can find comfort in the midst of trials and hardships when we acknowledge that no matter what, we are still a child of God that is cared for and loved.
We can do all things, we can get through anything, through Christ who strengthens us. Amen.