I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.Philippians 4:12(NASB)
The Philippian Christians had obviously supported Paul financially in the past.. but it appears that some time had elapsed with no supplemental help from them. But having at last received a little financial assistance from the believers there, Paul used this as a teaching opportunity to share the secret of godly contentment in every circumstance of life.
He explained that it is equally possible to be abased and live contentedly in humble circumstances, without even having the bare necessities of life.. as well as living lavishly and being supplied with much more abundance than we need. Paul was not complaining about the times when their contribution to his ministry stopped, nor was he implying that he relied upon their financial support to maintain his ministry. Paul knew that God had promised to supply all his needs according to His riches in glory and that in all things God would accomplish his work through Paul and provide all that he needed for life and godliness - for it is Christ Who supplies our need and it is Christ Who strengthens our heart.
Although elsewhere Paul certainly stated that a workman is worthy of his hire and that it is right and proper to support Christian ministries and missionaries in their labour for Christ, nonetheless the important truth that Paul wanted to get across to Christians in Philippi was that he had learned how to get along in life in humble and meagre means - but also that he knew how to live in prosperity.. to the glory of God.
Paul had learned the secret of contentment in any situation and in every circumstance that he faced. He was content in Christ when filled with good things but he was also content when he was hungry and in need. Paul was a man who had experienced great abundance but he had also suffered much lack. And as he wrote his epistle from his prison cell.. Paul was able to share his great discovery.. that contentment in life is found in Christ alone.
Although Paul rejoiced to think that the Philippian Christians had kindly supported his ministry.. he wanted to get across to them that whether we have little or much we are to remain content and joyful in all things. He wanted the Philippian believers to understand that there is nothing in life that we can do without Christ and nothing that we receive that does not come from His hand - for He is our strength.. He is our support and He is our supply.
May we like the Philippian Christians be prepared to support ministries and minister with the fruit of our hands to the glory of God.. and may we like Paul be prepared to live our lives humbly unto the Lord in joyful contentment - irrespective of whether we are abased and without the bare necessities of life or abounding in plentiful supply.
Heavenly Father, help me like Paul to be contented in all circumstances of life.. whether I find myself in humble means or endowed with more prosperous surroundings. Help me to learn how to get along when I am abased or endowed with much prosperity. I pray that in all things I may be contented - whether I am being filled with good things or find myself facing hardship and hunger. Give me a contented heart that looks to Jesus for my strength, my support and my supply - and whether I live in abundance and or find myself in dire need.. I pray that I may live day by day to Your praise and glory, in Jesus name I pray, AMEN.
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