Read Philippians 4:10-23
10I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
14Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15Moreover, 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; 16for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need. 17Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. 18I have received full payment and even more; 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. 19And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
20To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
21Greet all the saints in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me send greetings. 22All the saints send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar's household.
23The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen. (NIV)
Paul is closing his letter of “joy” to the Philippians. He sums up his joy in that the people of the Philippian church have always had concern for him and his need. One of the hardest things some Christians really struggle with is accepting help when in need. Many of these believers are all too ready to help someone else, but they struggle at receiving help. Paul is struggling a bit with this. While he wants to downplay the need, he is also very aware of the good that comes from helping people when in need. We see this struggle in his saying I rejoice that you thought of my need, but I wasn’t truly in need.
I am sure as soon as he penned the words, “I am not saying this because I am in need,” he had to let them know what he was talking about to not make their gift and the effort to get it seem meaningless. So he goes on to say that in his mind he is never in need because he has learned to lean on God for everything. Verse 12 and 13 are wonderful verses for us to hang on to. And yet, we must also recognize that God does you others to meet our needs.
Paul comes full circle to truly thank the people for their gift by letting them know that it was good what they did this time and what they have always done in sharing of themselves to help him in his early ministry.
Paul describes their gift as a fragrant offering and an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. He uses some of the imagery of the Old Testament offerings to God by the Israelites. And I he reminds them that as they give of themselves, God will meet their needs. This is something Marilyn and I have learned as we have given more and more to God each year. God continues to meet our needs. We have found we cannot out give God’s blessings to us.
As he closes the letter, he gives various greetings from where Paul is staying and he adds on greeting that is sure to give the people encouragement. He says, the saints in Caesar’s household send greetings. To know that they work you support is making inroads even into Caesar’s household is a great word of encouragement. We all need to see every now and then that was we do is making a difference. Paul is letting them know the Philippian church is making a difference.
How do you see yourself helping others? Are the times in your life where you are a giver and then times where you are the receiver of gifts? I think everyone will at one time be on either side of that equation and that is what our faith is all about, giving and receiving. Who have you thanked this day for their faith that has influenced your life? We need to let people know what they mean to us.
Blessings and Peace