Okay, here's an embarrassing confession from me. I’m a little more high-strung than I used to be. I get more worried. I fret over little things. I imagine worst-case scenarios when they really aren’t very likely.
In fact, my daughter recently told me (politely) to chill out. She was right. I really needed to chill out.
The apostle Paul demonstrates some pretty remarkable “chill” in the book of Philippians. Instead of being challenged by his daughter (he didn’t have one), he asked himself a good, self-corrective question:
But what does it matter?
It’s a short, rhetorical question that Paul asks in Philippians 1. The issue at hand? Some people were preaching the gospel out of “envy and rivalry….for selfish ambition”. He even says they were doing it to “stir up trouble”. Paul had heard reports that there were some who were engaged in ministry for impure motives, which caused him great inconvenience, and in some ways, tarnished the message of the gospel.
But his response? “It’s no big deal”, he says.
“The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached.” (Philippians 1.18)
He was so convinced that the gospel message needed to get out to all people, that he was willing to even dismiss the fact that some did it for wrong reasons.
“And because of this, I rejoice”, he says. Not only did he give a pass to the wrong-motived preachers, he even found a way to be joyful, knowing God would use it to reach other people.
A few great reminders for us all here:
- Is there anything bothering me that I need to really chill out about, declaring with Paul: “What does it matter?”
- Am I so impressed with the need for the gospel to be understood, that I’m willing to absorb inconvenience or trouble in my own life?
- Do I truly find joy, as Paul did, in knowing that the message of God’s love is getting proclaimed, even if I don’t always like or agree with the methodology?