“Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15 Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16 for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. 17 Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 18 I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4.14-19
The Philippian Church was generous. Paul recounts the generosity of the church from the ”early days” of their “acquaintance with the gospel” until now. They were the only church in those days who shared with Paul in the ”matter of giving and receiving.” No other church sent him the aid he needed.
However, Paul is less concerned about the gift but that the giver be blessed. ”I desire that more be credited to your account.” So that in giving, we the givers are impacted more so than those who are on the receiving end.
This reminds me of leading short term mission trips with students. I always reiterate that those who give, in the end, receive more than they gave. Students returning, for example, from international mission trips, are changed in ways which will impact them for the rest of their lives.
Paul, not only needs support in his missionary journeys, but he wants to instruct the churches on how to lead in generosity. Paul confirms that he has received enough and that these gifts are a ”fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.” And finally Paul prays that just as they have given to him and his ministry that the Lord would “meet all needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”
The truth of the matter is that all we have comes from the Lord. He is the giver of all good things and our ability to receive from him, and then give to others, is a good and godly practice. If we were to only receive, but not give, then how might we know the joy of giving for the sake of the gospel? And thus we could not know the generous character of God who “who gives generously to all without finding fault,” James 1.5.
Let’s remember that we have been given much from the Lord and thus in turn, we should give to others for his glory and by his grace.
“O Lord God, you are good. I thank you for giving breath to every human. Thank you for the sanctity of this life and the opportunity we have to walk in step with your Son our Savior. Come now, Holy Spirit, and teach us not only how to receive but how to give. So we might experience the power of your love and the grace in your hands. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen