Saturday after the Eleventh Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Philippians 4:8-23 (NKJV)
4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
10 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. 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
14 Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress. 15 Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. 16 For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. 18 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. 19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
20 Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you. 22 All the saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar’s household.
23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Paul teaches the saints of the Church to meditate on good and positive things, and to see what contentment looks like. But his message is different from the world’s ideas about positive thinking and contentment.
When the world talks about the power of “positive thinking” or being content its focus is self-centered. People are taught to be positive or content for the sake of insulating themselves from the sin and evil that are always around us. But we cannot find bliss by being willfully ignorant.
St. Paul’s message is different from the world’s. He is showing us that we are to meditate on the things above (see Col. 3:2), or as our Lord says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…” That which is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, or praiseworthy is not always considered to be “happy thoughts” according to the world and our sinful hearts. Sometime the true and praiseworthy Word of God says “woe to you, hypocrites…,” and “Repent!” Peace and contentment are not found by ignoring and avoiding such just and virtuous admonitions, but in submitting to them as the Church submits to Christ, who alone makes us righteous through His forgiveness and work in us.
We pray: Almighty and Everlasting God, who art always more ready to hear than we to pray and art wont to give more than either we desire or deserve, pour down upon us the abundance of Thy mercy, forgiving us those things whereof our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask but through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.