I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. ~ Philippians 4:10 (ESV)
READING: Philippians 4:10-13
Are you content as a church planter? Suppose those who pledged to support and encourage you did not follow through with their help. How content would you be? Paul says, “I have learned” to be content. He wrote as a prisoner in Rome, chained to a soldier. He expected to be executed. Still he was content.
Philippians is a letter to a church he had started. Finally, after a lengthy delay, they expressed their concern by sending Paul financial support. But how long had it been since they had last helped him? Ten years! He had not received any help from them in a decade – ten years of labor, heartache, exhaustion, loneliness, and, ultimately, imprisonment.
Some church planters might have become bitter. But Paul says, “You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity.” One key to his contentment lies in the Greek word translated “no opportunity.” Literally it means “no time.” In New Testament Greek there are two words for time. One (chronos) is simply time as a measurement. The other term, the word Paul uses here, kairos, refers to a strategic time, the opportune moment.
“I know you were concerned, but the strategic moment to help me had not yet arrived.” And who controls the strategic moment? Almighty God!
Paul saw the delay and apparent neglect of a supporting church as under the good, wise, and all-powerful hand of God. He came to believe that though God is sometimes mysterious, He always acts with compassion, faithfulness, and kindness, for His own glory and our good.
Lord, Teach me to be content, no matter what the circumstances, to Christ’s glory. Amen.
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