Philippians 4:15-20 Giving & Receiving with Right Motives
You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; 16 for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs. 17 Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account. 18 But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. 19 And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen. 21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you. 22 All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household. 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
Paul expresses his appreciation for the Philippians church that believed in his apostolic ministry and supported him even after he has left them. He reveals his unselfish motives in receiving their gifts and blesses them.
You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; 16 for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs.
The Philippians church is a faithful supporter of Paul’s ministry. They continued to support Paul even after he left Macedonia (Philippi). The fact that they continued to support Paul shows their belief in the apostolic ministry of Paul. Many people give as a gesture to repay the work done towards their benefit, or retain the minister at their service. But the Philippians believers give with the intention to help further Paul’s apostolic ministry beyond Philippi to Macedonia and even into Thessalonica.
17 Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account. 18 But I have received everything in full and have an abundance.
Paul describes his motive in receiving their gift. Paul is not seeking their gift but he is seeking the reward that they will receive from God as a result of their kindness towards him. Paul does not depend on their gift for livelihood, because he knows that God is the faithful provider. But he is hoping that they could partake of his rewards in the apostolic ministry. Hence, he desires the gift not for his own sake but for theirs.
I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God.
As Epaphroditus carried the financial gift on behalf of the Philippians church, Paul refers to the gift as a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. It is not the gift per se that is a fragrant aroma but rather the hearts of the Philippians believers that are offered up to God to do His will. Paul describes Christ’s obedience as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (see Ephesians 5:2). The believers’ continual and faithful support for Paul even after he has left attests to their unselfish commitment towards God.
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
This blessing is a fitting response from God to the believers who are wholly committed to God: they will never find themselves in lack in whatever circumstances they may be in. God is their Provider!
- Ministers must spend time building a network of people who believe in them as well as their work. Hence, ministers must understand the underlying motives when people give. Some people give in order to receive more from God. Yet some give so that they could keep the minister at hand when the need arises. There are also some who give because they believe in the vision and would like to support its work. Yet fewer believe in the minister himself and would support whatever work he is involved in. The believers in Philippi believe in Paul as well as his work and supported him in all his endeavors. Ministers in their effort to canvass for support must refrain from using relationship as a means. Instead, he must prove the results of his ministry and build credibility by being transparent in all his decisions and to deliver on his promises. In doing so, he will build a solid and enduring support structure that can withstand the test of time.
- Ministers receiving support must be motivated by the profit which increases to the giver’s account and not by their own profit. By having the right motives, ministers will continue to put their faith in God and not in man. He will also increase his pool of givers who give out of a right motive. Faithful supporters have a knack in discerning the motives of the minister.
- Givers must give out of a right motive of supporting the ministry of God. God is not concerned about the amount of the gift, but rather the state of the heart as some give out of selfish reasons. In having the right motives, they will receive their reward from God. What if one does not feel like giving although he did give out of a sense of duty towards the work. Will God reward him? The answer is yes; his works will justify his faith or posture of his heart. It does not matter how one feels at the time, but what one does that justifies him.
- God’s basket of rewards consists of a variety of tangible and intangible things. The most precious are usually things that money cannot buy: spiritual gifts, peace, health, like-minded and faithful partners, wisdom and insights, authority, favor with God and with man. One should not make the mistake of seeking physical wealth, but seek the intangible rewards of the Spirit that will never run dry. You could tell God how you want to be rewarded. Seek the intangible reward, and the tangibles will follow.
- For ministers: How do you canvass for support? By keeping close contact with your supporters? Or speaking the vision with clear laid out plans backed up by past results? By placing your hope on God, you show yourself as a man of faith unperturbed by financial challenges of the moment. Faithful supporters is seeking for ministers with true vision, who are down to earth, diligent and meticulous, who place their complete trust in God.
Dear Lord, I put my trust in you to provide for the need of the ministry. I will focus on doing your will and receiving your revelations daily. I pray that you bless my supporters who have given out of their love for the needy. Increase my authority and power to accomplish your work. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
- For supporters: Do you give because you love the lost and would want to get them saved? Set aside a budget to support your church’s missions overseas. And God will supply all your needs according to His glory.
Dear Lord, I acknowledge that all that I have comes from you. Give me wisdom so that I could support the right ministry and bear fruit. I trust that you will provide for my every need. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.