Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.Philippians 4:11(NASB)
As he starts to draw his letter to the Philippians to a close, Paul gives a little teaching about giving.. both giving to others and receiving from others. Paul was incarcerated in a Roman prison when he penned this epistle to the Christians at Philippi, but he used it as an opportunity to emphasise the value of contentment in whatsoever circumstances we may find ourselves. And what an encouragement and example this short passage has been to many believers down through the centuries, who have found themselves in times of financial hardship, dire need or severe persecution.
Although Paul was the first to point out, elsewhere in scripture, that a workman is worthy of his hire, we discover that he used his tent-making abilities to provide for his basic needs during much of his own ministry. But Paul was always grateful to others and thankful to the Lord, when his brothers and sisters in Christ recognised his personal need and tried to help.
Paul did not publish abroad his lack. He did not beg for any financial assistance during his ministry, nor did he make a request for help when he was behind prison bars... But in this passage we discover that it was laid on the heart of the Philippians believers to send some financial assistance to Paul, for which this faithful servant of God was most grateful.
However Paul wanted to make it plain.. that although he did not expect these men and women of God to support him financially, nonetheless he was not only most grateful for their assistance - But he also pointed out that he himself regarded their gift as coming from the Lord - and that those who has so generously provided for him.. were in reality giving their gift to God.
Paul had discovered the joy of the Lord was his strength and that His grace is sufficient in all things. He had learned that whether he had much or very little he was content with his lot.. for he knew that God was in control. Paul discovered that there is no greater contentment than abiding in Christ, submitting to His Holy Spirit and trusting God in all things.
Like Paul we also are to discover that no matter what difficult circumstances or financial hardships we have to face in life we are to be content in all things - knowing that it is God to Whom we look for our provision for He has promised to provide all we need according to His riches in Christ Jesus our Lord. And when He does provide for our need or should He choose to withhold for a time - like Paul we need to learn to be content in all things... and give thanks to God for His sufficiency at all times - for He is the One who deserves our never-failing honour and our eternal praise .
But like the Philippians Christians it is also good to be prompted by the Holy Spirit to give support to our brothers and sisters in Christ who may be facing hardships or other types of difficulties - and to thank others and God if others are prompted to give aid to us. We are not only to give freely of our time, our finances and other offerings but we are to give our gift cheerfully and joyfully.. as unto the Lord, knowing that it was for our sake that Christ was sent into the world by our heavenly Father.. to be the propitiation for our sins, so that by faith in Him we might have life everlasting.
Heavenly Father, thank You for this example of generous giving and of gracious receiving. I pray that I may be content in all things, whether I have much or little, but I also pray that You will prompt me give of what I have, when others are in need, not out of obligation but out of love for You. Thank You that all good and perfect things come from You and may I be a good steward of all I have.. and trust You for all I need - in Jesus name I pray, AMEN.
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