Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.
I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. ~Philippians 4:14-23 (ESV)
Paul concluded his letter to the church at Philippi thanking them for their ministry support. They had given to the cause of Christ, so that Paul could spread the gospel further without the need to support himself. This freed him to share even more on his missionary travels.
Philippi was alone in their giving in this season of Paul’s ministry, but they gave generously. So much so that Paul was able to say to them, “I am well supplied.” In other words, he didn’t need them to keep sending him money at this point. This shows that Paul was no charlatan preacher. He wasn’t in it for what he could gain. He wasn’t pleading for more and more money despite having a nice house and fancy clothes.
And in return, Paul assured them that God would bless them and supply their needs. This not that every want would necessarily be met, but that they would not lack in the basics of day to day living.
From this example, we learn what it means to be generous. God has chosen human beings as the ordinary means for the gospel to spread in this world. He could use a choir of angels. Jesus even said he could make the rocks cry out if every other voice fell silent of God’s glory. Yet, he chose people as the means.
The spread of the gospel takes money, then. It costs to travel and to live in new places. It costs for new Bibles to be printed in the languages of those who have no access to the scripture. It costs to meet basic human needs of clean water, good food, and clothing. Those of us who have been supplied by God have a duty to share with those who are in need.
But we should also be careful to whom we give our money. When people who are more than “well supplied” beg for our giving, we should question just what they intend to use our money for. There are too many needs in the world, too many people who have not heard the gospel for us to give unwisely. Let us be generous to the cause of Christ all throughout the world.
This is our last post in this devotional series on Philippians. Look for a new series starting next week.