Thursday, August 23, 2018
Philippians 4:10 I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it.
Think about the last time you got an unexpected card or phone call from a friend. Do you remember how it encouraged you and made you feel refreshed? It’s a wonderful feeling to know that someone took a few moments out of their busy day to think of you. It’s great to know people care.
The Apostle Paul is in prison while he is writing this letter to the church at Philippi, and one of the reasons he is writing is to thank them for caring for him. When Paul first met the people who became the core group of this church, they had shown the caring nature of their hearts by giving financial support to him for his missionary journey. When Paul traveled around planting churches it was not easy to stay in touch with the people back in Philippi. He had no phone, no email, and no public mail service. By the time a personal messenger would get a letter back to the church he would probably be gone to another city. The church had no way of continuing their support for him. But as soon as they heard that Paul was confined to prison, they knew they had the time to get to him. They collected another offering and sent a messenger to deliver to him a wonderful gift of love. It is that expression of caring that Paul refers to in today’s Scripture passage.
How wonderful Paul must have felt the day the messenger arrived with the letter and the gift from the people whom he loved so dearly. He tells us that he rejoiced greatly.
I wonder what Paul had been thinking during the time he had not heard from them? I know what I would probably be thinking. “What have I done wrong that they don’t ever call me?” “Why are my friends deserting me?” “I guess I’m not worth really caring about?”
Can you relate to those feelings? I’m sure we have all felt rejected at times. But what I really wonder is, “How many people am I making feel that way because I haven’t contacted them?” It’s easy for us to go into self-pity when we feel rejected or alone, but it takes work to be the one who initiates the care-giving.
Paul makes it clear that he trusted the heart of the people of Philippi when he says, “Indeed, you have been concerned.” He knows that the physical expression of that concern was limited by distance and lack of technology. But as soon as they had an opportunity to show their concern they showed it.
I wonder how many of us are missing opportunities right now to show how much we care to another person. Are we up to date on our email responses to people? Have we sent cards to the people we know are hurting and in need? And what about those people that we have been trying to avoid that God’s Spirit has suddenly put in our minds? Are we willing to show anyone and everyone that we really care and have the heart of Jesus?
Take some time today, instead of watching TV or posting to Facebook, to make a personal contact with someone who will rejoice greatly that you called. And if you can’t think of anyone – call me. Not only will I be overjoyed to hear from you, but I can make some suggestions of people who could use a little encouragement right now. The opportunities abound. All that is needed is a caring heart. Do you have one?