Philippians

Philippians: Thank you

This devotional is written by Barnabas Shaw. Barnabas is a musician and has been at St Mary’s since he was a student.

Philippians 4:10-23

Thanks for Their Gifts 10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

14 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.

20 To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Final Greetings 21 Greet all God's people in Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. 22 All God's people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar's household.

23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

Reflection

The initial impact when reading this scripture is the importance of giving what we can to work that spreads the gospel. We're told that the Philippians' giving is a "...fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God" (v18) and that "...God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus" (v19). We've been challenged regularly at St Mary's to try the impossible task of 'out giving God', and this verse reinforces that message, that as we give, God will meet all our needs according to the riches of his glory. However, I believe this passage goes beyond that. The Philippians have sacrificed significantly to give out of their own pockets to support Paul, and his response is "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances" (v11) ...perhaps a strange response to reaffirm the Philippians' desire to give. Paul's emphasis is "...Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles" (v14) and highlights that they knew that they were lone givers amongst the churches and repeatedly gave when others didn't! Paul, instead of focusing on how their giving benefits himself, focusses on its effect on themselves. The indication is that this is sacrificial giving. How often do we consider the concept of sacrificial giving, rather than giving from our wealth? To me, verses 14-16 draw parallels to Jesus. Jesus left his heavenly throne and was born into poverty. He made himself less to share in our sufferings and point us to God, demonstrating how valuable we are to Him. By giving sacrificially, the Philippians follow Christ's example, sacrificing what they have, to help Paul out of his troubles and thus, learning more "...the secret of being content in any situation..." (v12) and receiving "...all your needs according to the riches of his glory" (v19).




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