Thursday, October 8, 2020

October 8, 2020— Thursday prior to Proper 23

              Philippians 4:4–13

When Paul asserts he can “do all things” is not to suggest he can achieve all things but rather he must endure all things with contentment. It is inconceivable that the Philippians believed after receiving this letter that whatever they determined to do; Christ would strengthen them to accomplish. They would have read it in its context and heard Paul saying that the Lord strengthens him to endure any situation the Lord has him in, whether abundance or need, hungry or filled.

So, can I do all things through Christ who is my strength? It depends on what I mean. If I mean I can endure whatever situation the Lord chooses for me because I receive my strength to endure from Christ, then yes I can do all things.

But if I mean that whatever I determine to accomplish in my life, I can because Christ will strengthen me, then I do not have the authority and power of the word of God to have that confidence.

Paul does not suggest by these words
You can overcome any problem
You will get that past-due bill paid
You will get that job
You will be healed of any health issue

Nor did Paul intend for people twist his words to sell all sorts of t-shirts and gifts.

Yes, God can do anything. But God has never promised us we can ‘fix anything through Christ’. God has never promised that all of our earthly problems would be solved or taken away.

Through endurance comes contentment and peace. Even if he was suffering, or found himself in need, Paul learned that his joy doesn’t come from solving those problems. His joy comes from knowing Christ.

Even during bad times, Jesus strengthens us as he counsels us, guides us, and encourages us., Even if you lose your job, or can’t pay a bill, your source of joy should not be from fixing those problems. It comes from faith in Christ.

While we all want our problems solved, the lesson here is not about having our circumstances fixed. It’s about learning to lean on Jesus and depend on Him, even if the circumstances don’t get better. It’s always been about Jesus the source of your joy, regardless of circumstances.[1]

St Paul urges us to Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Rejoice, for the Lord has washed us clean in Holy Baptism, clothing us in white garments, and inviting us to the marriage feast of the Lamb in His kingdom, which has no end.

He reminds us that the Lord is at hand. The Lord is, indeed, at hand; He is as near as His Word and Sacrament. Wherever the Word is preached in its truth and purity and the Sacraments are rightly administered, there the Lord is, dispensing the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.

Prayer for the mission of the Church
: Almighty God, You have called Your Church to witness that in Christ You have reconciled us to Yourself. Grant that by Your Holy Spirit we may proclaim the good news of Your salvation so that all who hear it may receive the gift of salvation.[2]

[2] Collect for the Mission of the Church, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St, Louis
Baptism image copyright © Ed Riojas, Higher Things

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