October 8

Philippians 4:1-5

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.” vss. 4-5

Paul tells the Philippians in the closing part of his letter that the “Lord is near.” Most often we read these words as a kind of warning–Paul wants the Philippians to be on their best behavior when Jesus returns–and it could be that this is what he has in mind.  But it’s more likely that the words mean just what they say–the Lord is already near and close at hand. And since that is the case, Paul tells the people to rejoice, and not just at Sunday worship, but always! For many that attitude is a bit of a stretch! Let’s face it, we frequently don’t feel much like rejoicing, particularly when we live in a time of uncertainty and things aren’t going our way. Even when we have every intention of being cheerful and happy all day long, it usually doesn’t take long before stuff happens, and sometimes it happens even before we’ve had our morning coffee! Paul knew that; so he links rejoicing with gentleness, an attitude toward life that is similar to what is known as forbearance, a kind of patient self-control and tolerance. As we begin to relate to others in that fashion, we learn to not sweat the small stuff, and to focus instead on the big picture. We are alive, the Lord is near, and every day is an occasion for rejoicing–even the ones that challenge our serenity!

Thought for the Day: What part does rejoicing play in my daily living?

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