GIVING AND RECEIVING

Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account.

PHILEMON 4:17

The apostle Paul had a tent-making business. Over time, it was evident that more and more of his time was being given to vocational ministry activities. It became increasingly difficult for him to run a business and travel and minister. Doing so required him to receive income from those in whom he invested his life.

His letter to the Philippians gives us a perspective on giving. Although Paul appreciated the support financially, his real joy came from the fact that their gift was being credited to their heavenly account:

Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Moreover, 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; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need. Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. 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. And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:14-19, emphasis added).

Paul had a confidence that God would always provide what he needed. Sometimes it came from his business. Sometimes it came through others. He was not overly concerned with where his provision would come from. His confidence was in God.

Paul learned that it wasn’t a church or a business that was his provider. It was God. The funds he received were merely tools that God used to support him.

Hillman, O. (2011). Tgif: today god is first. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell.


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