“clinging to the Word of Life, that I will be satisfied in the day of Christ that I did not run in vain nor did I labor in vain.”
There are many things in which we can take satisfaction. We can find satisfaction in a hard day’s work. We can find satisfaction in a good meal or in a good book. We often find satisfaction in watching our children grow and mature, living as they ought. We can go on in our list and all of these things are good, but Paul presents us with another aspect of satisfaction…or another thing in which we ought to take satisfaction…that of watching those you have mentored stand strong in their faith. And for Paul, it is not just that he is taking satisfaction that they are living faithfully now…but he prays that in the end, when Jesus returns and brings all deeds both good and evil into judgment, that they will be still standing in that day.
I spent a number of years teaching Bible to High School students and repeatedly, I would set down for them a principle that I think echoes what Paul is speaking of in this verse. I would tell them that if they studied there was no reason that they could not earn an “A” on any given exam that I might set before them or on any assignment that they might have. At the same time, getting an “A” in a course I might teach was not the measure to see whether or not you did well in my class. I would go on to say that the real measure of whether you did well in my class is whether or not in 15 years, 50 years, 70 years, and on their deathbed they were still living out their faith. “If you get an ‘A’ in my class,” I would say, “but do not live your life out in faith, you are the one who failed because you have not understood what I am teaching.” I would go on, “But, if you struggle to pass my class but live out a life of faith until your dying day, you are the success.” Paul wants the Philippians to be a success — not just in Paul’s here and now — but for all of the days in their life so that he might take satisfaction in them and be assured that his labors on their behalf were not in vain (at least from a human perspective).
Beloved, don’t just take satisfaction in earthly things (work done, a meal served, etc…), take satisfaction in eternal things…one of which being the walking in faith of those whom you have mentored. May one day, when our Lord returns, we see the fruit of our labors and be humbled by the way that God has seen fit to use us.