Brothers and sisters, whatever . . . is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8
Every Friday evening, the national news my family views concludes the broadcast by highlighting an uplifting story. In contrast to the rest of the news, it’s always a breath of fresh air. A recent “good” Friday story focused on a reporter who had suffered from COVID-19, fully recovered, and then decided to donate plasma to possibly help others in their fight against the virus. At the time, the jury was still out on how effective antibodies would be. But when many of us felt helpless and even in light of the discomfort of donating plasma (via needle), she felt it “was a small price to pay for the potential payoff.”
After that Friday broadcast, my family and I felt encouraged—dare I say hope-filled. That’s the power of the “whatevers” Paul described in Philippians 4: “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable” (v. 8). Did Paul have in mind plasma donation? Of course not. But did he have in mind sacrificial actions on behalf of someone in need—in other words, Christlike behavior? I’ve no doubt the answer is yes.
But that hopeful news wouldn’t have had its full effect if it hadn’t been broadcast. It’s our privilege as witnesses to God’s goodness to look and listen for the “whatevers” all around us and then share that good news with others that they may be encouraged.
What’s a “whatever” story that’s encouraged you lately? Who might want or need to hear your story?
Father, I know that behind whatever is excellent and praiseworthy is You. I love You.
Joy is a recurring theme in Philippians (1:4, 25; 2:2, 29; 4:1). “Rejoice in the Lord always,” Paul says. “I will say it again: Rejoice!” (4:4). He prays with joy for his beloved brothers and sisters, rejoicing because of their growth in faith, their firm stand and union in Jesus in the midst of persecution (1:27–2:2), and their faithful partnership in the gospel work (1:5, 18). As he closes his short letter, Paul acknowledges their great concern for him (4:10, 14–18), describing the believers as his “joy and crown” (v. 1). He encourages them to rejoice even in unfavorable and difficult circumstances, for joy in Christ transcends circumstances. (Paul was imprisoned when he wrote this letter, 1:14.) He affirms that even if he’s killed for preaching the gospel, he’ll rejoice, and he commands the Philippian believers to rejoice as well (2:17–18).