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
“Large and in charge” Do you know someone who fits that bill? They command the room whenever they walk in. Everyone knows who to look to and everyone defers to her. She owns the room, as they say. He steers the ship. Maybe there is a realm where you are that person. It might be only in your little corner of the world. It could be just in your family, or your work group. Hopefully you are at least in charge of yourself (read self-control!).
Funny thing, though, even the most powerful person in the world – Donald Trump? Vladimir Putin? Xi Jinping? – have to acquiesce to the space and time realities they cannot control. Gravity pulls them toward earth’s center just like it does everyone else. They are not exempt from storms, viruses, or political intrigue.
It is good for us to recognize and remember this from time to time. Even Paul had to learn this during his missionary travels. He had sought go up to Bithynia from Mysia. But the Spirit of Jesus would not allow it. His plans were altered by God. And for good reason: this would bring Paul and his companions into Macedonia and to establish the first church to be planted on European soil in Philippi.
And now, full circle later, the church in Philippi is providing financial (and spiritual/emotional) support to Paul from a distance. The mission of God will continue. The message of Jesus will go out. People will be brought to faith. Jesus will be honored.
That’s true in the face of whoever in our lives is large and in charge and in the way of good things we want to do or be part of. The will of God will not be thwarted. Take that Coronavirus! Take that racial prejudice! Take that violent protesters! Take that social injustice! Take that Satan!
For a time the Philippians didn’t have the opportunity to help Paul. But when they did, they did. So if something stands in the way of your good-doing, just wait. God will open the door to do the good that he has put in your heart to do – whether you’re large and in charge or not.