I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. (ESV)
The Apostle Paul had given his life for the ministry of the Gospel. He had traveled the known world at that time preaching. As a result he was sitting in a prison cell. I can only imagine what he might have been thinking as he sat there, imprisoned for his faith. We know that he was faithful and trusted the Lord during that time. Yet, he also needed the support of people in the body of Christ.
Philippi was a special place for Paul. Several years before the writing of this letter Paul had preached the Gospel there and seen God do amazing things. As you read through this Epistle you can tell that Paul has great love in his heart for these people. He tells them in this verse that he is rejoicing that they have come to his aid now that he is in prison. They heard he was in need and they met the need.
What a great example this relationship between the Apostle Paul and Philippi is. It is a pattern for us as well. There are Christians all over the world who are in prison for their faith. They need a loving partner to provide for their needs. Voice of the Martyrs is a wonderful ministry that brings awareness to the free church in the West of the persecuted believers around the world.
Paul ends this verse by saying, "You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity." I want to pose two questions to you. Are you concerned about those who are right now being persecuted for their faith? Secondly, do you recognize that you have an opportunity? Just like the Philippian believers had concern for Paul, and acted on it; you also can do the same for those who are persecuted and imprisoned like him.
Make a decision to pray for the persecuted church. Ask God to increase your concern. Consider making a financial donation to Voice of the Martyrs. Go to www.persecution.com.