But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress. Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
THEY GAVE ONCE AGAIN
- 2 Corinthians 9:8 indicates that the church had supported Paul in his ministry at one time. For whatever reason, it appears their support had stopped. Now, Paul rejoices that it has “flourished again.”
- Gospel must be carried world-wide
- Missionaries and ministers must be supported to do the work
Luke 10:2 – “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; pray therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
John 4:35 – “Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest?’ I say to you, ‘lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!’”
- Jesus clearly stated that the problem is not the harvest – it is the need for laborers. We must go and do all we can to reap the harvest. Where we cannot or will not personally go – we must commit ourselves to support those who can and are willing to go.
GOD DOES NOT NEED YOUR GIVING
- God has taught his servants to be content in whatever state they find themselves.
1 Timothy 6:6-9 – “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.”
Hebrews 13:5 – “Let your conduct be without covetousness; bet content with such things as you have, for Him Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”
- God meets the needs of his servants.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 – “And He said unto me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect (to complete, reach a goal, bring to maturity) in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me…For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Psalm 28:7 – “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped.”
YOU NEED TO GIVE TO GOD
- God wants you to be a part of His kingdom work. When you give you are obeying God. When you obey God, He has promised to “take up residence” in you – (John 14)
Acts 20:35 – “…And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed (supremely happy, a condition in which congratulations are in order) to give (giving an object of value freely, unforced) than to receive.’” The Amplified Version
- NOTE: Jesus did not say it would more natural or easier to give than to receive, but that the giver would be more blessed than the receiver.
- Giving to God’s work will bring God’s blessings.
Luke 18:30 – “There is no one who has left house, or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.”
Luke 6:38 – “Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
Malachi 3:8-12 – “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ ‘In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,’ says the LORD of hosts; and all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land,’ says the LORD of hosts.”
WE MUST LOOK TO GOD FOR OUR NEEDS – MINISTER AND LAITY ALIKE
Philippians 4:19 – “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
- The source of our supply – God Himself
- What needs are met – All our need
- What is the limit of meeting our need – All of God’s riches in glory
- Who is the one who provides the supply from heaven to us – Jesus Christ
- NOTE: When we speak of giving, most of the time we think about “money or material items.” True, that is one of the main sources of giving to God’s work. Missionaries, ministers have to eat, need clothes and a room over their head. Their children need toys and books and an education like other children. They need Bibles and books and supplies to reach out in ministry. All this takes money.
- However, we need to think of giving to the work of Christ in other ways.
- Prayer – One of the best ways to give to God’s servants is to pray for them. Too often we spend time criticizing, complaining and very little time praying.
- Communicate – We need to let God’s servants know we are praying for them. Write to the
- missionaries – send your pastor a card.
- Time – We need to give of our time to God’s work. We can help in the work of God by volunteering some of our time to help in his work that needs to be done.
- Talents, abilities – God’s servants cannot do everything. They – like you – are limited in their skills. You can share your skills in areas where God’s servants are lacking.
- Friendship – It can be lonely when you work for God. You can be a friend to the missionaries by writing, sending magazines or newspapers from home, sending a “care” package of spices, packaged food or other items they cannot get and miss. You can be a friend to your pastors by sharing a cup of coffee, a visit to their home or yours.