Have you gone to church or brought a friend to worship only to find that it’s going to be the “money” sermon? Why does the air go out of the room? Why do we feel secretly disappointed? Could it be that we have more to learn about the benefits of giving our money than we might like to admit? In today’s passage, Paul thanked the church at Philippi for their generous gifts, and in doing so, provided encouraging reasons to reshape our thinking about the value of giving.
- What does giving feel like to you: an opportunity to be grasped, or an obligation to be endured?
READ THE WORD: PHILIPPIANS 4:14-23 (ESV)
14 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.
21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. 22 All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household.
23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- Based on verses 14-18, in what ways did the Philippians “share [Paul’s] trouble”? Who else supported Paul in this way?
- In verse 16, Paul said that his material needs were met, and he was grateful for that. But what did he say was the goal of the gift (vs. 17)?
- In case the Philippians were worried that their giving of monetary gifts to Paul would leave them in need, who did Paul say would always be there to fill their needs?
- If you really believed that God would supply your needs as you gave monetarily to meet the needs of someone working to further the gospel, how would your giving be different?
- Are you monetarily supporting a missionary, ministry, or your church? Why or why not? What are the motivations Paul gave us to do that?
RESPOND TO GOD
Paul’s words encourage us to examine our perspective of giving—both our own giving and God’s. Notice that before Paul mentioned the specifics of the needs met by the Philippian church, he said it was “kind of [them] to share [his] trouble.” It is easy to see the value of providing for physical necessities, but do we ever consider the emotional burden that is shared, even lifted, when Christians give of their finances? And do we consider that giving empties our supplies so that we can be filled back up with the bounty that only God can give?
- Pray about your giving today. Ask God where he is calling you to direct your finances.
- Ask God to help you see giving as a partnership, something that will be a pleasing, fragrant offering rather than an obligation.