Philippians 4:14-23

A Rich Supply

Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied . . . a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:17-19

‘Tis the season. Requests for donations come from every charity we’ve ever given to and from the ones with whom they have shared mailing lists. After Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we now have Giving Tuesday. But giving should not be reserved for a season or a special day. Giving should be our way of life.

Paul was grateful to the Philippians because they gave to him when he needed it even though no one else did. They gave abundantly, more than once (Philippians 4:14-16). Paul used accounting terms, picturing God crediting the Philippians’ gift to their account’s ledger book (vv. 17-18).

Most of us are familiar with verse 19, quoted above. But did you ever think you needed to receive so you could give to others? Some have misquoted this verse. They encourage people to give money so they’ll receive five times as much from God in return. But we should give because we are grateful for all God has already given us, not so we’ll get more.

Even though Paul was the receiver, he also had something to give to the Philippians and others, including us—letters of encouragement and truth. Furthermore, he gave himself to the ministry of the gospel. For example, he wrote, “All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household” (v. 22). Paul took the gospel into a place very few people would’ve been able to take it—Caesar’s own household! Servants, relatives, and guards heard the message.

Maybe right now you’re the receiver, unable to give money. But do you have time or talent to give? Will you pray? Paul was encouraged by many people who visited him and carried letters and news back and forth. He also was supported by intercessors who regularly prayed for him.

Instead of discarding the requests for donations, consider how your gift of money, time, or talent could contribute to the work of spreading the gospel, especially to places you can’t go. Ask God to give you an abundant supply to share with others.

DIG DEEPER:

Read 2 Corinthians 9:6-15. What encouraging yet challenging teaching does Paul provide in this passage about giving that pleases God?

Psalm 112 talks about the true source of wealth and what to do with it. Where are you scattering your gifts?

Read the description of what one group of people gave in New Year, New Resolve under Dig into Holidays. As you give, pray as David did in 1 Chronicles 29:10-18.

For how not to give, see Ananias and Sapphira under Dig into People.

Nancy J. Baker

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