Proper 23 (28) – Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost


Year A (2016-2017)
Bible Book: Philippians
Chapter: 4
Verse: 1
Verse (to): 9

Our modern and everyday life are filled with so much hustle and bustle of many things that are contending for our attention.  We consider all these and find that whatever voices call out for our attention are important, and we find it hard to heed the one and neglect the other. So, we learn to master how to juggle many balls in our hands – duties and work we have to perform, relationship commitments, participating in life within our communities and responding to needs and challenges, … oh, and celebrating life and the victories we win.

Granted, our days are filled with action.

In our text in Philippians 4 v1 – 9, Paul paints a familiar picture of life that is similar to ours; of work, friendships, serving the Lord and being in community, of challenges in relationships and so on. As a leader, Paul appeals to two ladies, Euodia and Syntyche to settle their disagreement and even calls on his dear friend to assist them. He is quick to remind them of their work and service to the Lord along with other believers and encourages them to stay true to their calling.

Behind Paul’s words, I hear him encouraging them earnestly and calling on them to keep the main thing the main thing. Life will always be full of things that will distract our attention from the Lord, our days will always be marked by long ‘to do’ lists which keep rolling over. But don’t get swallowed by life’s issues, challenges or whatever will draw you apart and away from sharing God’s love with each other. Hence to reconcile is important for Paul.

His strong reminder that the Lord is coming should shake us back to a realization that certain issues will consume and eat away at the more meaningful things in life, which is being in community, good relationships, serving the Lord, acting justly and lovingly.

In the end of that text, Paul calls on his audience to fix their thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable; on what is worthy of praise and excellent. Imagine this was a big sieve, would our actions, attitudes, and thoughts pass through as true, honorable, pure….worthy of praise….? Perhaps in the many balls we juggle, this might not be so difficult, but what of the more challenging aspects like relationships with one another, and especially where we have differences and disagreements? Will we be able to keep the main thing the main thing – showing God’s heart of love and acceptance to his people, having joy unspeakable and peace surpassing all understanding? Or will we get swallowed by life’s issues, till it mars our work and service before the Lord? Our communities include neighbours that have been wounded and by-passed in many social ills. Will our actions go through the sieve and reach those most vulnerable?

May the God of peace be with us as we push through life’s busy-ness to keep His main thing, the main thing.

To think about:

What area(s) are you getting caught up in and finding difficulty to keep the main thing the main thing? Won’t you ask God’s help in faith to help re-order things?

Author: Moyo M (Ms)
Language: English