As we come to the end of our weekly examination of the book of Philippians, it is interesting to note how Paul concludes his letter. He has just revealed his secret to contentment and now shares his deep appreciation for the generosity the church has provided to him.
“Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 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; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 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. And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:14-19)
Paul reminds his friends of their continued generosity even while serving with another church. They were also sending support when no other churches were helping him in his time of need. The Philippians were faithful in the past and continued to be faithful. One of their very own, Epaphroditus personally brought the gifts to Paul while he was under house arrest in Rome. Paul’s needs were met even to the point of excess.
Paul reinforced his secret to contentment by this very statement, “not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account.” What we understand is that Paul’s greatest desire is not for his own well-being but rather that their generosity would be noticed by God and credited to their account. Remember, he has decided to be content whether he has needs or is well taken care of (vv. 12-13). Paul wants to make certain that the Philippian Christians understand the value of faithful generosity.
He closes with a word of affirmation and edification reminding the givers that God will continue to meet their needs according to the riches of his glory. I do not believe Paul is advocating some form of prosperity theology—that God will just take care of all our needs, and we will never be in want. Rather, our needs are met through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. As a result, we don’t need to worry about our lives or what we will eat or how we will be clothed because God cares for us (Matthew 6:25-24). We are now able to set our eyes on bringing glory to God.
As we conclude this study, I would like to challenge you to assess your priorities and evaluate your generosity. Your faithfulness in this matter could be a tremendous blessing to others, and I know that it will be a great opportunity for personal growth, as you trust God to provide for your needs.
Pastor Brian Freerksen