Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. 15 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. 16 Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. 18 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. 19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Philippians 4: 14-20 ESV
“It is more blessed to give than receive” (Acts 20:35) The Bible contains many beautiful stories of giving, and here is one of them. The brothers and sisters in Philippi had been supporting Paul’s ministry financially at times when no one else was doing so. And now when he was in Rome as a prisoner, they collected money to assist him and sent it with one of their brothers named Epaphoroditus. Although those brothers and sisters were physically away from Paul, they were taking a share of Paul’s trouble through their generous gifts. Moreover, Paul said “Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit” (v17) Paul appreciated the gifts much, but he was more interested in the fruit that increases to these brothers and sisters credit, as their giving was a “fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.”(v18) It was not lambs or cows that they were sacrificing to offer to God, but their act of kindness to Paul was just as acceptable and pleasing to God. By giving to others, we are actually giving to God, and He treasures it.
“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (V19) He also makes sure we have enough to give. I remember one year our church was supporting Operation Christmas Child by packing shoe boxes filled with gifts for the children in need. I felt the nudge in my heart to go out and buy what was needed to fill up some of those boxes. The shoe box packing party was around November, and in December, I received a bonus check from work. What I received was more than enough to cover what I had spent on the goodies. It brought tears to my eyes knowing that God had gladly received what I gave, and He was giving me more in return! I’m sure many of the cheerful givers around me can also share similar stories. 😊
Our God is rich and glorious, and He is the generous one who would give. He gave us life and everything we need. He also gave His son. He gives because He loves. We are created in His image. If our Father is a joyful giver, how can His children not be alike? We love because He first loved us. We give because He first gave. No wonder when we give, we can experience that great joy in our heart! We are not only blessing the receiver of the gift, we are also doing what our Father would do. When we are doing what is pleasing to God, unspoken joy and contentment fills our heart. The blessing is ours, and the glory is His! (v20)!
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38) The joy of a giver truly overflows! It is more blessed to give than receive!
Dear Heavenly Father, we love because you first loved us. We give because you first gave. Praise you that you are that rich and generous giver! You’ve also given me enough to give. Help me to be a joyful giver, and may those who receive also see my joy and love coming from You.