"Saints . . . who are in Philippi" (Phil. 1:1).
As you give toward the needs of others, God will supply your needs.
Perhaps more than any other New Testament church, the Philippian church was characterized by generous, sacrificial giving. Their support for Paul extended throughout his missionary travels and was a source of great joy to him. In addition to money, they also sent Epaphroditus, a godly man who ministered to Paul during his imprisonment (Phil. 2:25-30; 4:18).
Paul was selective about accepting financial support from churches because he didn't want to be a burden or have his motives misunderstood. First Corinthians 9:6-14 tells us he had the right to receive support from those he ministered to, but he waived that right so the gospel would not be hindered in any way. In 2 Corinthians 11:9 he says, "When I was present with you and was in need, I was not a burden to anyone . . . in everything I kept myself from being a burden to you, and will continue to do so."
Similarly he wrote to the Thessalonians, "We did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we might not be a burden to any of you" (2 Thess. 3:7-9).
In contrast, Paul's willingness to accept support from the Philippian church speaks of the special trust and affection they shared.
Apparently the Philippians' generosity was so great, it left them with needs of their own. Paul assured them that their sacrifices were well-pleasing to God and that He would supply all their needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:18- 19).
Like the Philippians, you should be characterized by generous, sacrificial support of those who minister God's Word to you. Faithful pastors and elders are worthy of such honor (1 Tim. 5:17- 18), and generous giving brings joy to you and to others.
Suggestions for Prayer
- Thank God for those who faithfully minister to you.
- Ask for wisdom in how you might best support the financial needs of your church.
For Further Study
Read 1 Corinthians 9:1-14, 2 Corinthians 9:6-14, and 1 Timothy 6:6-9.
- What attitudes and principles are reflected in those passages?
- How might you incorporate them into your financial practices?
From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.