Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.
How you see the world is everything. Take America for instance. We can look at the divisions that seem deep within the people, and we can say that if the nation doesn’t change, the divisions may become irreconcilable. But that’s looking at the glass half full. We could also look at the deep divisions that exist and say what a tremendous opportunity exists to come together and be stronger than before.
It’s a scientific fact that pressure can make things stronger. Humans for example, are stronger if they work out than if they’re lazy. Muscles and bones weaken if they aren’t exposed to pressure. Of course too much pressure can break not only bones and muscles but lives as well. St. Paul shows us the key to understanding how to handle the pressures of life. To be able to be of meager means and feel full, is truly a gift.
The great Apostle was certainly of meager means. He left his plush life as one of society’s elite to give his life for the gospel. He didn’t keep his home in Tarsus and return from his missionary journeys for relaxing weekends. He found everything he needed to feel full and satisfied in the meager means of a Roman jail cell. And, with the offering he received from the Philippians he was over-joyed and considered that he was “abounding”.
While we don’t know what was in the offering they sent to him, it couldn’t have been much. They didn’t have a lot in the fledgling Christian church filled with many of societies outcasts, as was common of the churches of the first century. But whatever it was, it was a sweet smelling sacrifice to God. Paul knew what they sacrificed in order to send it.
The Philippians were living in the power of the resurrection to put Paul’s needs above their own. Paul was living in the power of the resurrection to be able to exist in such meager means and still feel he was abounding in all things. So what about you? Are you feeling full or empty? It really has nothing to do with what you have, that is as long as you’re not talking about having the power of the resurrection. When you have that power, you have all you’ll ever need. So remember, Christ is risen…and so are you!
Grace & Peace,
God of all grace and glory, thank you for reminding me that with your Holy Spirit, I have all I’ll ever need! Amen. Alleluia!