“It was kind of you to share my trouble. 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. I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Philippians 4:14-20
“Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38
There’s a beautiful flow of exchanges in God’s economy, but it is not balanced. We can never out-give God. When we supply for others’ needs, we receive an irrepressible return. Our gifts are actually a pleasing offering to bountiful God, and somehow, supernaturally, we are credited with great gain that not only supplies our needs, but brings Him glory.
Why is it so hard to let go, and give? We want to hold on, we think we need, we want to be safe, when all the while the riches in glory in Christ Jesus await those who let go, who share trouble, enter into partnership in ministry, help needs once and again. It is no risky investment to give sacrificially to God’s work.
What keeps us from participating in the giving and receiving of God’s people? Do we prefer the lone life, where we can order every detail with self-sufficiency? Do we allow too much time to pass when opportunity arises, and by procrastination miss out on contributing? Do we spend our time figuring what who else should share the load, rather than asking God how much He would have us give? Are we busying ourselves with less important occupations that we arrogantly deem more important, and so neglect our duty? Do we donate meagerly to check off a box, not thoughtfully as the Spirit prompts? Are we persnickety about what and how we want to give, instead of seeking how the Lord would stretch us to serve?
On the receiving end, what keeps us from expressing need, and receiving from others what God has put in their hearts to give? Do pride and shame prevent our admitting where we fall short, need help, or are even desperate? How might we be forsaking others in the Body of Christ from fulfilling their duty to give, to come alongside, to share in the hardship, because of our self-will and stubbornness?
Paul gave and gave to the end of glorifying his Christ, and was willing to receive God’s provision to supply what he needed along the way. Would we trust God enough to give up our management and control of how we think it should happen, and offer ourselves to give and receive any way God deems right, for His glory alone? (Philippians 3:7)
Lord, guide me in both generous giving and grateful receiving, to the building up of Your Body, and the magnification of glory to You.