Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the thoughts and words of this reading that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
Philippians 4:10-20 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
10 I rejoice[a] 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.[b] 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. 20 To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
The Philippian Church was a joyful church. Of all the churches Paul founded, it seemed to give him the least trouble and the most satisfaction. So, his letter to the Philippians is a letter of joy, brimming over with expressions of gratitude and affection and love.
At the beginning of his letter, Paul says, “I thank my God every time I mention you in my prayers. I’m thankful for all of you every time I pray, and it’s always a prayer full of joy. I’m glad because of the way you have been my partners in the ministry of the gospel from the time you first believed it until now.”
During World War II the United States Navy formed a group designated as the United States Naval Construction Battalions. Their nickname, based on the abbreviation C. B. for Construction Battalion, was “Seabees.” The Seabees went ashore right behind the Marines during the Pacific Island battles, constructing the new facilities necessary for the support and establishment of combat forces. Today the Seabees have many special task assignments starting with Camp David and the Naval Support Unit at the Department of State. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seabee) They refer to themselves as “can do” people, and are often quoted as saying, “The difficult we do immediately; the impossible may take a couple of days!”
I think that would resonate with the apostle Paul, who wrote to the Philippians, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Paul’s experience was that God would give him the strength to endure whatever came his way. This is a theme for Paul, who learned in prayer that God’s “My grace is enough for you, because power is made perfect in weakness.” (See 2 Corinthians 12:9)
Paul, who had a very difficult life, found that God’s grace was “enough” for him in all circumstances. He wrote, “I have learned to be content with whatever I have. 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. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
What good news! In our times of difficulty we have—through God’s grace—the strength we need. It is enough.
I hope you will take a few moments to let the words of this message and the emotion that always connects us to music connect with your soul. I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster