by Stan Mitchell
“Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel” (Philippians 1:12).
June’s friends huddled in the hallway of the hospital. “We’ve got to be positive,” Janice explained, “because June’s condition is very serious. Half of the battle against cancer is attitude, they say, and we’ve got to help her develop a good attitude. Don’t let the shock of her appearance show on your faces. Make this visit an encouraging one!”
So they filed into the dark room where June lay in fear and trepidation. June smiled, and her smile lit up the room. She held out her hands in welcome, and her eyes seemed even larger and prettier now that her hair had gone because of the treatment.
When they left the room, June’s friends realized that she had encouraged them, not the other way around.
The little book of Philippians uses the word “joy” and “rejoice” fourteen times in four chapters, yet Paul penned these words from prison. Roman prisons were rarely mistaken for Sheraton Hotels. Dingy, rat-infested cells were attended by “room service” consisting of grim Roman legionaries.
Yet Paul sought to encourage his readers, not the other way around. How could he be so positive under these circumstances? Perhaps Paul’s contentment didn’t depend on his circumstances! Maybe his attitude stemmed, not from what happened to him, but from who he was. It was Paul, after all, who declared later in the same book that if we thought about whatever was good, and pure, and lovely we could experience the “peace that passes understanding” (Philippians 4:7,8).
So who are you?
by Stan Mitchell