Today I’ve spent some time looking at Philippians 4 in preparation for next week’s Zoom study.
I found this great passage from Chrysostom‘s sermons on Philippians, on the 11th verse of chapter 4. Figured it would be a great thing to share with you, especially in view of our current circumstances. So check out this helpful wisdom, straight from 1600 years ago or so:
“For I have learned,” says he, “in whatsoever state I am, therein to be content.”
Wherefore, this is an object of discipline, and exercise, and care, for it is not easy of attainment, but very difficult, and a new thing.
“In whatsoever state I am,” says he, “therein to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know also how to abound. In everything and in all things have I learned the secret.” That is, I know how to use little, to bear hunger and want. Both to abound, and to suffer need.
But, says one, there is no need of wisdom or of virtue in order to abound. There is great need of virtue, not less than in the other case. For as want inclines us to do many evil things, so too does plenty. For many, coming into plenty, have become indolent, and have not known how to bear their good fortune. Many men have taken it as an occasion of no longer working. But Paul did not so, for what he received he consumed on others, and emptied himself for them. This is to know. He was in nowise relaxed, nor did he exult at his abundance; but was the same in want and in plenty, he was neither oppressed on the one hand, nor rendered a boaster on the other.
“Both to be filled,” says he, “and to be hungry, both to abound, and to be in want.” Many know not how to be full (as for example, the Israelites “ate, and kicked” Deuteronomy 32:15), but, “I am equally well ordered in all.” He shows that he neither is now elated, nor was before grieved: or if he grieved, it was on their account, not on his own, for he himself was similarly affected.