Anderson's Monthly Musings
The elders have asked us to read and meditate upon Phil. 4:10-13 this month. Here are some of my musings. More to come….
10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.
But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly - The gifts which Paul had received, and for which he felt so much gratitude, had been received of the Philippians, but he regarded “the Lord” as the source of it, and rejoiced in it as the expression of His kindness. The effect was to lead his heart with cheerfulness and joy up to God. “Every good and perfect gift cometh from above…” Js 1:17. No matter the instrument the Lord utilizes, we must always look upward and give things for all that we receive.
That now at the last - After so long a time. The reason why he had not before received any aid from their hand, was not neglect or inattention on their part, but the difficulty of having communication with him.
Your care of me hath flourished again - In the margin this is rendered “is revived,” and this is the proper meaning of the Greek word. It is a word properly applicable to plants or flowers, meaning to grow green again, to flourish again, to spring up again. Here the meaning is, that they had been again prospered in their care of him, and to Paul it seemed as if their care had sprung up anew.
Wherein ye were also careful - That is, they were desirous to render him assistance, and to minister to his wants. Paul adds this, lest they should think he was disposed to blame them for inattention.
But ye lacked opportunity - Because there were no persons going to Rome from Philippi by whom they could send to him. The distance was considerable, and it is not probable that the contact between the two places was very constant.
11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
Not that I speak in respect of want - Though Paul no doubt was often in circumstances of necessity, he did not make these remarks on that account. In his journeys, in his imprisonments, he could not but be at times in want, but be had learned to bear all this. Paul’s main concern was his “care for all the churches” 2 Cor. 11:28. As to his own personal trials, he had learned to bear them, so that they did not give him great uneasiness.
For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content - That is, to have a contented mind. Paul says that he had “learned” this. Probably by nature he had a mind as prone to impatience as others, but he had been in circumstances fitted to produce a different state of feeling. He had had ample experience 2 Corinthians 11:26ff, and, in his life of trials, he had acquired invaluable lessons on the subject. He had had abundant time for reflection, and he had found that there was grace enough in the gospel to enable him to bear trials with resignation. The considerations by which he had been taught this, he does not state, but they were probably such as:
-That it is wrong to complain about our “lot” in life. That a spirit of impatience does no good, remedies no evil, and supplies no want; that God could provide for him in a way which he could not foresee, and that the Savior was able abundantly to sustain him. Once when he had prayed that his “thorn in the flesh,” be removed from him, Lord answered, “My grace is sufficient for you….” 2 Cor. 12:9.
-A contented mind is an invaluable blessing, and is one of the fruits of religion in the soul. It arises from the belief that God is right in all his ways. Why should we be impatient, restless, discontented? What evil will be remedied by it? what want supplied? what calamity removed? “He that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast” Proverbs 15:15; and one of the secrets of happiness is to have a mind satisfied with all the allotments of God. Paul told his young protégé, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” I Tim. 6:6-8
Brethren, let’s all learn contentment. No harder life can be lived than the one marred by the incessant pursuit of what this life deceitfully promises and the spiritual cancer of jealousy and covetousness.
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Heb. 13:5