Posted by: Brad Beaman | June 26, 2008

The Joy of Giving

                                                           Boulder Colorado Sky

Maybe if you think back you can remember when someone gave you a gift that really blessed you. I recently have been thinking back on different occasions when I was blessed by a gift. In Philippians 4:14-19 Paul says that he was blessed by a gift.

The book of Philippians to a large extent is a thank you note from Paul to the church for a financial gift. How much they gave to Paul we don’t know. But Paul expresses something very encouraging about giving. It is not only the one who receives the gift who is blessed.

God is pleased and blesses and provides for the giver. In this passage Paul tells of his profound thanks. It is so amazing because Philippians one of the poorest churches in the New Testament was one of the greatest giving churches.

Philippians 4:14-19
Yet 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; 16 for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need. 17 Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. 18 I 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.

Philippians shared with Paul to relieve his suffering. This church had considerations for Paul’s needs. Starting with verse 14 Paul builds on his words he shared about contentment. He is content without the gift, yet the gift still meant a great deal to him.

The church gave materially to Paul but received they spiritually from the Lord. The Philippians were the one who received the greater blessing. Philippians is known as the epistle of joy and it is written to the giving church. Joy and giving go hand in hand.

Paul valued the gift but his greatest joy was how it blessed them before God. This is encouraging when I think of all the people who have given me gifts. That God will bless them.

There is such a joy in giving, a freedom and a blessing. Giving is a barometer of your spiritual condition. Paul’s words remind us of what Jesus said in Acts 20:35, Remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” In Matthew 10:8 Jesus said “Freely you have received, freely give.”

Giving Pleases God 17-18

In verse 17 Paul says, Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account.

Is it possible to be more concerned with the giving than with the actual gift itself? Think of the parent that receives a mothers or fathers day gift from their child. That parent is thrilled with the gift even if it has no material value. There is joy to the parent that their child gave them a gift.

That is Paul’s reaction here. He started this church and it blesses him that they have a giving heart. It is no wonder that Paul is pleased. Giving and freedom go together. Those who are a giving people have a freedom in all their areas of life.

Giving is more than a physical act it is a spiritual exercise. It is a joy to Paul who started this church to find them obedient in the area of giving. They will be greatly used by the Lord. In Vs 18 Paul’s heart overflows. He was content before but now he is blessed and overflowing.

He received in full and nothing more is due him. He made it clear that this was a thank you note and not a subtle hint to send him more funds. He described their gift as sweet smelling incense offered to the Lord.

The gift is comparable to the whole burnt offering which the Israelites brought to God and that is described in Leviticus 1:9 9 “an aroma pleasing to the LORD.”

Philippians is possibly the poorest church, but they did not want to be robbed of their opportunity to share in God’s ministry.

The Macedonian churches pleaded with Paul for an opportunity to give to his work. 2 Corinthians 8:4, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service (giving) to the saints.
Jesus had no home, no real material possessions to speak of, but He was the richest person that ever lived, He shared in God’s resources. And so will the person who lives totally for God.
Giving opens us to God’s gifts. In 4:15 he refers to giving as a matter of giving and receiving. True Christian giving does not seek to get blessing for their giving, but they end up receives them.
This is not the prosperity gospel that says to get things you give to get. You should give out of a grateful heart, freely you received freely give. But when you give to God he meets your needs as he did for Paul.
Paul did not have a fancy car (or the first century equivalent) or live in luxury. But God met Paul’s need. He met the Philippians needs. He will meet your needs according to his riches and glory in Christ Jesus.
God Provides for the giver. Whenever we give any gift we could always find some reason not to give it. We could have used the money to meet our own physical needs. There are always needs pressing in from every direction. But read verse 19 “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

God would care for the needs of the Philippians even if they were poor. All Paul could do was thank them for the gift, but God could supply all their needs. No gift given with Christ like motivation to God’s work has ever made a person poorer.

How can we give to the Lord’s work in a bad economy? I can say give generously, give sacrificially and joy will abound and God will provide your needs. This goes for your physical needs and spiritual needs. This is not off the top of my head but right out of verses 18-19.

Giving stretches your faith. It is like an extreme sport for living by faith. God bountifully blesses those who give graciously according to God’s purposes. Go on give and boldly!

 

 

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Responses

  1. This is very encouragin i trust God for the grace to give.

  2. giving? if you don’t give your 10% you are robbing god.
    malachi says that the doors of heaven will open when you give your 10%.
    but when it does not work ‘ye lack faith’

    that is not joy of giving but exploited

  3. Excellent goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you are just extremely excellent. I actually like what you have acquired here, certainly like what you are stating and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it sensible. I cant wait to read much more from you. This is actually a terrific website.


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