Second Reading: Philippians 4:12-14, 19-20

The Secret of Living

What do people claim is the key to happiness? What do you believe will make you happy?

Popular Translation

12 I know what its like to be humbled and what its like to have lots of stuff. I have learned the secret to be happy all the time. It does matter if I have a full stomach or if I am hungry, if I have everything I want or if I have real needs. 13 I get my strength from God. He gives me the power to live through the good times and the bad. 14 Still, you have been so kind because you shared with me in my bad times.

19 My God will take care of all your needs out his riches and his glory, because you are with Christ Jesus. 20 Praise God our Father forever! Amen.

Literal Translation

12 I know to be humbled, and I also know to have abundance. In every (circumstance) and in everything, I have learned the secret (how) to be satisfied and to hunger, to have abundance and be in need. 13 I made strong in every (way) by the (One) empowering me. 14 Yet, you did well having been my partners in affliction.

19 My God will fill all of your needs according to his riches, in (his) glory, in CHRIST JESUS. 20 To God our Father (be) glory upon ages of ages. Amen.

In 4:10-11 and 1-18, Paul thanked the community at Philippi for their generosity. When Paul had a need for material support, believers in this church responded. Paul showed his appreciation, but also used the opportunity to teach his audience the secret to a happy life.

Paul lived on the road and suffered for his missionary efforts. He had seen his fortunes turn from good to bad and back. He seemed to anticipate this cycle of scarcity and abundance to occur over and over. Yet, that prospect did not deter the apostle from his preaching, for he had a source of strength greater than his own fortitude. God had given Paul this ministry, and he gained power from that call. As he was emboldened and empowered by God's call, he expected others to be urged on. Because the Philippians shared faith and fellowship with Christ, they, too, could live through the bad times and enjoy the good times as blessing.

For Paul, the secret to a happy life lay in the hands of God. We, too, will find happiness when God's calling becomes our passion for living.

Review this week. How have you responded to God's call? Was your experience empowering or draining? Why?