Sunday, 26 February 2017
But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Philippians 4:10
Paul now refers to the giving by the saints in Philippi for his needs. However, despite it having come from them and their labors, he ascribes it to having come from the Lord. He says, “But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly.” He moves the gratitude up to the place from which it originally stems. It is not in any way a lessening of his thanks to them, but rather a highlighting of it. If someone compliments a preacher on a great sermon, he does well to say, “Then give the glory to the Lord.” He is acknowledging the Source of the goodness which they received. The same is true with Paul’s words now.
Understanding this, he then says, “that now at last your care for me has flourished again.” The word he uses is found only here in the New Testament, and it signifies “to revive.” It is what happens with the trees in spring as they sprout new leaves and revive in the warm sun and refreshing showers. It would be what a pot of flowers would do which was deprived of water, but which revived as it received water once again. Paul is saying that the care of him by the Philippians was received by him; their care has revived him in this manner because of it.
He then acknowledges that the deprivation of their care was not of their making, or because of a lack of attention to him. Rather, he says, “though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity.” The distance to reach him, the sickness of Ephaphroditus, possibly because of his incarceration making it impossible, and so forth, all led to this inability of them to tend to him. However that was now past.
Life application: Sometimes we may take things in the wrong way when we do not hear from another person for some amount of time, or because they have not attended to us in the way that was normal in the past. In such instances, the reason may be something wholly unexpected, and so it is best to not let such lapses cause an unnecessary division. Instead, we need to handle them with care and hopefully find out the reason for them in a godly and patient manner.
Lord God, give us wisdom in dealing with others so that we don’t rush into unnecessary or unsound judgments concerning the things they do. Obviously, we don’t have all of the information concerning why others do certain things, and so grant us the ability to first find out what may be misunderstood by us before we fly off the handle and cause harm to the relationship. Surely peace and harmony is preferable to strife any day. Help us in this, O Lord. Amen.