Partners In Giving
Read Philippians 4:15-17 (ESV)
And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.
How does God usually meet the needs of His people?
Think of a time you earnestly prayed for God to meet a need and God answered with provision. How did God meet that need? Did money fall from the sky? Did your car miraculously fix itself? Did food just appear in your pantry? Probably not. It’s more likely that God met your needs and answered your prayers through the generosity of other people.
In today’s verse, Paul was crediting the Philippians with being the first church willing to partner with him in ministry. No other early church was willing to contribute financially to Paul’s mission to spread the Gospel.
Previously, Paul expressed that whether the Philippians gave to him or not, he was content. He knew God would provide him with everything he needed to carry out God’s will. If no one supported Paul financially, God would make another way. God can miraculously make money, food, or shelter just appear. He can make what little we have last longer or go farther than it should. Remember the feeding of the 5,000 (Matthew 14:13-21) or the widow’s olive oil (2 Kings 4)? But even the fish and loaves were humbly offered for Jesus’ use and the widow’s neighbors provided just enough jars for the overflow of the oil. People offered what they had and God used it to provide for others.
Over and over in Scripture, we see that God invites us to partner with Him in doing His work by giving generously to others that which He has generously given to us.
We see this in 1 Chronicles 29 when David was accumulating the building materials for God’s temple. It says that all of the people gave generously from whatever they had and that they gave willingly. They were not under compulsion or obligated to give. They understood that what they had was God’s and they wanted to steward it well for His glory.
Read David’s prayer in 1 Chronicles 29:14: “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you.” The Israelites understood that being able to give generously to the work of the Lord was in itself a blessing from Him.
Likewise, the Philippians understood that God was inviting them into His great work of spreading the Gospel and building His church. When they gave to Paul’s ministry, they were not just partnering with Paul, they were partnering with God. They were giving back to God what God had so generously given them.
Friends, what do you have that isn’t from God? Nothing. Everything we have is from Him. But it’s our job to steward it well. Have you ever stopped to consider what a blessing is to be able to give generously? Isn’t it amazing to think that your partnership through giving could be what God uses to answer the prayers of another? I encourage you to spend some time in prayer today asking God to show you how you can partner with Him by giving generously.
God, who am I that You would bless me so generously? Everything I have is from Your hand. Everything I give is going back to You for Your purpose. I pray that what I give is a blessing to others and brings You glory. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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