February 25, 2024 | Doug Sauder
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“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.”—Philippians 4:14–16 (NIV)
There’s such an interesting dynamic taking place throughout this 2,000-year-old letter. How so? Well, in Philippians 4:10 (NIV), Paul says, “I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me.” He was thrilled to learn of their concern and worry for him and for the very generous financial gift to support him during his arrest as he awaited an audience with Caesar.
Honestly, who wouldn’t be, right? If I was struggling and hungry, I’d be jumping for joy if a group of people I discipled sent me a big fat check. However, Paul’s reason for rejoicing greatly wasn’t the same as mine. In Philippians 4:17 NIV), he tells us, “Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account.”
Paul wasn’t rejoicing because they met his needs, because he didn’t need anything other than Jesus to be content and joyful. Instead, he rejoiced because of what it said about the Philippians and their walk with Christ!
He told them they did well in being generous, not because he needed it, but because they were embracing and embodying the gospel. They made his affliction and trial their own. They sought to help Paul bear his burden (Galatians 6:2). They exemplified the apostle’s words from Acts 20:35 (NKJV), which says, “lt is more blessed to give than to receive.” How so? By giving Paul a generous, physical gift, the Philippians received the spiritual blessing that comes from fulfilling the heart of Christ. This shows us that godly giving actually does more eternal, lasting good for the giver than for the one who receives.
So, what can we learn from this? Around the biblical notion of generosity, we should embrace two things:
First, we’re never poorer for having been generous. When we give to others from a place of love and care, out of the overflow of our relationship with Christ, we’re embodying the heart of Christ and the law of Christ. This sacrifice of generosity unto the Lord for the sake of others will yield beautiful spiritual and eternal blessings.
Second, we must be burden bearers and burdens sharers! Many are quick to resist or reject the generosity and help of others. Why? Sometimes out of pride—people either think they don’t need anyone’s help or they don’t want anyone to know they need help. And other times, because we don’t want to feel like a burden. But we mustn’t think this way!
Life is hard. It’s full of difficult circumstances and trials and tribulations. But the Lord promises to provide all our needs, right? Well, sometimes He desires to make provision through the obedient generosity or tender care of others and vice versa! Thus, we must check our pride at the door and allow others to operate in obedience and overflow. By gladly receiving their help as Paul did, we’re also blessing them!
As believers, we’re expected to be generous as Christ is generous, but also to welcome the generosity and care of others. When we do this, we’re allowing them to follow Jesus’ example and fulfill His law of loving one another!
Pause: Why is it important that we both live generously and receive with joy the generosity of others?
Practice: Here are two things to practice in this season:
Pray: Father, You are the source of all love, care, and generosity. We love because You first loved us, we show generosity and compassion because You are so generous and compassionate toward us. Thank You for being so kind, merciful, generous, and loving, Lord. I pray You would help me walk in generosity. I pray Your Spirit would show me ways I can bless the people around me. And I pray You would break any pride or feelings of unworthiness I have so I can receive the generosity of others, as You lead them to show it. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.