WOW, I’ve ended up with EIGHT posts on chapter 4. Most people breeze by this verse and include it with the contentment verses, but I’m not most people
I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. ~Phil 4:10
Paul closed his letter in much the same way he began it – thankful for the Philippians’ friendship. They remembered his situation, were concerned for him and found an opportunity to help him while he was confined in a Roman prison.
Prison life in that culture wasn’t like it is here in America where prisoners get “three hots and a cot.” During this imprisonment Paul lived in a rented house with decent living conditions, but the Roman government didn’t provide all his needs. Prisoners depended on outsiders to send funds and provisions, so Paul was deeply grateful when supplies came.
He was also grateful for the companionship of his friend Epaphoditus who delivered the Philippians’ gifts. Paul mentions him in chapter 2 and it’s clear that Paul was blessed by his visit. If they sent clothes, Paul probably thought of them every time he put them on. If they sent money, Paul likely breathed a prayer of thanks whenever he paid for something. If Epaphoditus also delivered an encouraging letter, I bet Paul read it over and over.
Until we’re disconnected from our friends and family, we can’t really appreciate how precious it is to be remembered. Several years ago I had a series of health issues that required me to rest and stay at home, so I was alone much of the time. This proved to be extremely challenging, but the Lord used that time to impress on me what a blessing it was to help and show concern for people in need. Friends brought meals for my family, my sister Janet and my friend Susan decorated my house for Christmas (2 years straight – thanks again girls!!), my Bible study girlfriends took turns visiting with me in the mornings, and when the mail came and there was a note from somebody who was praying for me – it absolutely MADE MY DAY!
I was also tremendously blessed by people who visited me in the hospital. Hospital visits seem to be something most people are hesitant to do, and understandably so. You never know what you’re going to walk in on when you go to the hospital. You may find the person asleep or having a physician consult or out for xrays. Or perhaps you find them coming out of the bathroom in that oh-so-stylish, tied-in-the-back hospital gown. Plus, not everybody likes to have company when they aren’t wearing any makeup, haven’t showered for days and are sporting 3-day bedhead.
BUT, I’m here to tell you that a friendly face in the door is a HUGE blessing because a patient understands that it takes a lot of effort to drive to a place most people would rather avoid, navigate a crowded parking lot, and meander through hallways filled with hospital personnel. So to put forth that kind of effort to see a sick person? I didn’t care WHAT I looked like, I was just happy that somebody remembered me!
This passed-over verse is so convicting to me. It’s past time to pray about who I need to remember and how I can show my concern for them. I don’t have to look far to see people who would be encouraged by a note. There are dozens of friends I’d like to meet for lunch to catch up on life. Opportunities abound to help in nearby tornado-ravaged towns. When I open my eyes and actually SEE the needs around me, I find there are plenty of things I can do. Sadly, most people will just go on about their business… and go on in their busy-ness…
But I don’t want to be like most people