Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God (Phil. 4:6)
It appears, given the 24/7 news-cycle in our society, that we have the option of worrying about more things than any previous generation on planet earth. Not because our exact situations are as worrisome as they could be, but because we are afforded plenty of other options to consider, both locally and internationally. As of late, we have heard numerous threats of nuclear warfare from North Korea, we have seen China’s militarization in the South China Sea, Russia’s aggression towards neighboring Ukraine and its involvement in the conflict in Syria, societal destabilization in Venezuela, and that doesn’t even include talk of Iran and other state sponsors of terrorism. On our own shores, there is concern relating to the prospect of a terrorist attack, at least in some places – an increasing cost of living, continuing moral decline, concern over the way in which media outlets seem incensed to fan flames of societal discord, and so on. All that of course does not include health concerns for ourselves, health concerns for others, the amount of sleep we got last night, exams, relationships, responsibilities, and the list could go on and on. Yet, in our text, we’re exhorted, even as the Philippians were, to “be anxious for nothing”. It does help to know that this wasn’t coming from someone who was bursting at the seems with outward prosperity, writing in between lounging and dining. This came from an imprisoned apostle. And it does help to know that contextually it comes right after Paul was addressing interpersonal issues in a very healthy church (Phil. 4:2-3). Euodia and Syntyche could apply this text to themselves as they likely wrestled with the anxiety that comes from interpersonal strife. Clement could apply this text if, say, he worried about dutifully executing the charge that Paul gave him to help these women.