Assurance for the Generous

With each medical challenge, we pray it will be the last. This Wednesday (May 23) at 11 a.m. I go in for surgery on a herniated disc. The procedure is a one to two hour outpatient surgery. The surgeon will trim the herniated portion of the disc away from my siatic nerve. I appreciate your prayers and trust that this will remove a roadblock to continued improvement in my mobility and overall health.

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY... “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 NLT

This verse is one of the most well-known in the New Testament. This wording is probably more familiar. “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:19 NKJV) This verse of assurance has been an anchor of hope and faith for many in a variety of challenges and situations.

As I read this passage some days ago, my attention was drawn to the broader context. Paul is commending the Philippians for their faithful and generous support of his ministry. Their actions provide some characteristics about those who are generous and concerned for others and the gospel.

1 – Generous givers give when others don’t. In other words, Spirit-led giving is not a result of “peer pressure.” It responds regardless whether others do or not. Givers respond to Spirit-directed giving even if they “stand alone.” Paul says,   You…were the only ones who gave me financial help when I first brought you the Good News…No other church did this.” (Philippians 4:15 NLT)

2 – Generous givers invest in others. It’s one thing to support the Apostle when he is living among you. When you are receiving the benefit of his life and ministry. It is another when he leaves and you continue to support him that others might hear the gospel as well. That’s what the Philippians did. Paul comments, “Even when I was in Thessalonica you sent help more than once.” (Philippians 4:16 NLT)

3 – Generous givers continue to give. Paul says they sent him support, “more than once.” We observe their faithful and consistent support of the gospel when Paul was in Philippi when he traveled on on Macedonia and their support was more than a “one-time” gift.

4 – Generous giving is an offering to the Lord. Paul is very clear in his commendation of the Philippians that he is not trying to thank them so to get more but to affirm their giving had spiritual implications. He says,  “I want you to receive a reward for your kindness.” (Philippians 4:17 NLT) He also says, “…the gifts you sent me…are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God.” (Philippians 4:18 NLT)

5 – Generous giving produces confidence in the Lord’s supply. The gifts of the Philippians in their support of Paul provided “more than enough.” This provided the security and stability  at this point in time for the apostle. As a result, he reassures the Philippians “And this same God who takes care of me [through you] will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19 NLT)

Paul was recognizing the support of the Philippians as supply from the Lord. The Philippians had responded in faith an obedience to the Lord. In the natural, it was a two-part transaction from the Philippians to Paul. Spiritually it was a three-part transaction from the Philippians to the Lord and then from the Lord to Paul. That’s what makes spiritual giving different from human philanthropy.

Paul wanted the Philippians to know that the Lord who received their gifts would honor them by not only meeting Paul’s needs, but that they could have confidence that the Lord would also meet their needs. Human resources are limited, divine resources are infinite.

Debbie and I can relate to what Paul experienced. Not from a single source, but from many friends and family members who provided financial assistance that has helped cover many of the extraordinary medical expenses I have incurred over the last almost five years. So my prayer for you, is the same as Paul’s, that as you were instruments of the Lord’s blessing in our lives at a crucial time, that the same God who supplied for us, will supply for you according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.