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."
Even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice ... I am glad.... So you too should be glad (Phil. 2:17–18).
Preachers of the gospel are like Old Testament priests who light the altars of God in the present world. When people respond with faith in Christ and present their lives to him in ordinary service to one another, God enjoys the smell of sacrifice.
For us every new day presents a new opportunity to add fragrance to the offering and bring glory to God. A day offered to God is a good day, even if we seem to be losing the game as people play it.
The everyday life of the Philippian congregation constitutes a "sacrifice and offering of faith" to God. And on that altar some drops of wine are sprinkled. That libation is Paul's life, which is slowly spent for God and the benefit of his church. When Paul's eyes see (not merely the prison walls, but) the altars of God being lit around the Mediterranean Sea, he feels a deep joy. "I am glad;' he writes, "and you should be glad too."
In the old tabernacle the sacrifice of praise to God was lit morning and evening. The lamb was sacrificed, the flour sprinkled, the wine poured out. It was "an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to the Lord" (Num. 28:8). Today that offering of faith is burning on all five continents. The world takes no notice. But God is pleased. And you and I rejoice.
And if your and my contributions have added to the flames of some altars, we couldn't have put our lives to better use.
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