by the Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven
Philippians is Paul's love letter. The epistle is also a good instrument for learning the secret of this great man. Paul considered living Christ and dying gain. And, although he wrote from a prison cell, his refrain was "Rejoice in the Lord always."
What does it matter? The important thing is that in every way ... Christ is preached (Phil. 1:18).
When your sole ambition is the progress of the gospel, you learn to live with many other things.
Paul put up with the injustice of the government. Instead of shouting about his "rights," he rejoiced that all the guards in the compound were asking questions about Jesus. Outside of the prison walls his friends redoubled their efforts to proclaim Jesus as Savior and Lord.
It soon became obvious that some of these preachers had their own agendas. Their motives for ministry were quite different from Paul's. Perhaps now that Paul was out of the way, they decided it was a good time to declare their independence and conduct their own campaign. But they did preach Christ.
Summing it up, Paul says: "So what? It doesn't matter. I am happy about it. No matter what their motives are, the gospel advances because Christ is proclaimed."
When a person can take such an attitude, he or she has given up personal pride in the interest of a higher ambition. And when the cause of Christ is our supreme concern, it should not be so hard to overlook people's unpleasant or insulting behavior.
Paul did not always say, "It doesn't matter." In no uncertain terms he condemned preachers who perverted the gospel (Gal. 1:6–9). But in Philippi his rivals preached the gospel, and that made all the difference.
Rivalry may be proper among supermarkets, but it is disgraceful between churches and preachers. We must rise above it. And, like Paul, we should try hard to tolerate some of the clowns who bring the gospel with mixed motives.
Andrew Kuyvenhoven's Daylight, a modern devotional classic, was originally published in 1994. This edition is copyright by Faith Alive Christian Resources, from whom may be ordered Daylight, the predecessor of Twilight.
A man of many accomplishments, Andrew Kuyvenhoven is probably best known for his contributions to Today (formerly The Family Altar), a widely-used monthly devotional booklet associated with the Back to God Hour. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations for this edition of Twilight are from the New International Version