Even laboring as a tentmaker, Paul sought to glorify and thank God via the way he conducted his business and treated his customers. He later wrote, “Whatever you do by word and deed, do all to glorify God.”
Christ even gives meaning to the tragic. Paul experienced this fact as God used his imprisonment to advance God’s kingdom on earth. Paul preached the gospel to the guards and fellow prisoners. Paul may have been in prison, but he was a free man.
As I write this column, we are still reeling from the tragic shootings that took place in Connecticut. Although too early to tell what the final results will be, there are some good ideas floating around to bring to pass better gun controls and laws, plus more ways to help people who are dealing with mental illness in the family.
In Christ, we find hope and courage for the living of these days and responding to life at its point of greatest need. When Paul made Christ the “still point” in his life, he found he could face anything and anybody with courage and hope. In the worst of circumstances, he was afflicted but not crushed, perplexed but not driven to despair, struck down but not destroyed, persecuted but not forsaken.
In Christ, we discover the powerful influence of the Holy Spirit. God’s spirit enables us to understand the Bible when we take time to read it, to see God’s mighty hands at work in the world, to love even our enemies, and to forgive those who do not deserve it.
All the ways in which our lives have meaning, purpose and direction, they are due to Christ working in and through us that which is well-pleasing in his sight. Little wonder that Paul exploded with joy when he wrote the letter to the church in Philippi.