Ahhh……finally, back to some New Testament reading. Now, I know things are not all sunshine and roses here. After all, it appears Paul is imprisoned while he is writing to the people of Philippi….and in fact, he is not sure if he may be put to death or die while in prison. However, this has an entirely different tone from those Minor Prophets.
I didn’t realize until doing some background that this book (or parts of it) may have been written while the stuff in the book of Acts was going on. Going to have to remember that when we get to Acts. I also didn’t realize that Philippi was the very first church established in Europe. Pretty cool historical fact.
All of that is well and fine, but essentially, this isn’t just a message from Paul to the Philippians, but also from God to any church and body of Christians. And he has some important things to say.
Today’s focus verse is Philippians 2:14, “Do all things without grumbling or questioning.” I don’t think he means that we should never have questions in our faith…..not at all. Asking questions strengthens our faith. I think the part I focused on was the grumbling. Throughout this chapter he often talks about the church needing to be on the same page — of one accord. Eek! How many times have you heard people talking about discord, gossip, arguing, or even splitting of a church? This is not of God and does not follow Paul’s advice.
Also within this section, Paul talks about the need for us to behave and think with humility. Uh oh.
Putting these together, I think of all the times when people may have gotten their feelings hurt in church — times when I got my feelings hurt in church or by another Christian. How many times have I had a disagreement with another Christian regardless of whether or not we attended the same church? That is failing to follow Paul’s guidance. Consider why Christians — within or not within the same church — may argue. Perhaps about how money is spent, perhaps about who gets credit, perhaps about whether guidelines were followed on purchasing decorations, perhaps on who was or was not asked to teach a class, perhaps on who was asked to bring the cake to the next covered dish luncheon. I could go on and on….. How many times are people’s feelings hurt because they believed they should have been front and center, because they have always filled that role, because they gave the money, because it was their idea…..none of these meet the guidelines of being humble.
And if I’m being honest, this is me, too. I’m preaching to myself here. I have sat back and wondered why someone didn’t choose me or ask me or notice me. I find myself wondering if people like me. I begin to see jealousy rearing its ugly head….thankfully, Paul is now in my brain. I hear him telling me just to serve when I can, while I can without grumbling or asking “why not me?” Humility….being of one accord….I’m getting there one verse at a time.