How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me. 11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. 14 Even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty.
15 As you know, you Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help when I first brought you the Good News and then traveled on from Macedonia. No other church did this. 16 Even when I was in Thessalonica you sent help more than once. 17 I don’t say this because I want a gift from you. Rather, I want you to receive a reward for your kindness. – Philippians 4:10-17
I have my moments. I suspect you do too. Moments of sheer frustration and anxiety. Moments of serene peace and tranquility. Moments of we’re going to make it through all this, and moments of how will this ever end?!? How about you? Moments of true contentment seem to be as elusive as a clear and mutually-agreed-on assessment of the true state of affairs in China or the US.
I doubt that Paul was dealing with the COVID-19 virus when he speaks of living on almost nothing, but we can relate if we’re seeing our personal economy being gutted. If you’ve lost your job and have no safety net, what will you do? Learn to live on almost nothing. If you’re seeing a boon in business (think grocery stores!) you’re living high. What do you do? You enjoy the blessings of plenty, and hopefully share them with others who are in need.
The secret of living with little or nothing or living with everything you possibly need is to recognize whose those resources come from and seek to be faithful in every situation. These are challenging times. There are hands out everywhere you turn. If you have the wherewithal to give, then give. If you have just enough to take care of your needs, thank God. If you don’t have enough call on God, ask for help. See how God will supply all your needs.
Paul’s letter to the Philippians is a thank you letter. He’s expressing his deep appreciation to the church for their support of his ministry over the years. He’s telling them that even when their money ran out, he was OK. And when it came, he was deeply thankful.
There are two reasons to praise God. We thank and praise him when his goodness moves others to bless us. We also praise God for the Good News of his eternal love and salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. Both are worthy cause for praise and thanksgiving to God.