“Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” – Philippians 4:8
The Apostle Paul started the church in Philippi on his second missionary journey. Philippi was a city in Greece situated on a major road that connected Rome to much of its territory to the east. It was a great city for Paul to establish a church where the good news of God could travel freely throughout the empire.
Unlike most of the churches that Paul started, Philippi was not started within the Jewish community. Most of the people who made up this church were Roman citizens. The church was made up of people from various walks of life. Like the city of Philippi, the church was economically, and culturally diverse. It is to this church that Paul writes the letter knows as Philippians.
In the letter to the Philippians, Paul writes about a great many things. Perhaps the most important topic that Paul discusses is found at the end of this great letter. Paul acknowledges that there are difficult situations in his life and the life of those to whom he is writing. However, Paul shares his “Secret” (4:12) to a life of contentment. Paul encourages the people to focus on things that are, “honorable, just, pure, pleasing, commendable, excellence and worthy of praise.”
Each of us have positive and negative situations in our lives. Our days are filled with trials and blessings. If we want to enjoy the life of contentment that Paul writes about we must learn the same practice of gratitude practiced by the Apostle Paul so long ago and focus for the good things in our lives. Our minds can quickly shift focus from one thing to the next. We must train ourselves to give thanks and concentrate on what is praiseworthy in our lives. This is not to say that we ignore the difficult situations and fail to deal with trouble in our lives. It is, instead a determination to prevent the negative from demanding all of our attention and energy.
The holiday of Thanksgiving is a great opportunity for us to direct our attention to the good things in our lives. I want to encourage you to take some time this Thanksgiving and, “Think about these things.” We have so much to be grateful for. We have so much good in our lives. We have so many reasons to give thanks.
Rev. Keith King, Pastor of Worship