Context, Context, Context

14 Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction.  15 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 (Philippians 4).

Context, context, context.  So often, verse 19 is wrongly read or quoted on its own, without the benefit of its context.  The result is a paltry view of God’s economy.  The reason for Paul’s confidence in God’s provisions for their needs is amply provided in the preceding verses.  Those verses clearly show that their “fragrant aroma,” their “acceptable sacrifice” of a “gift” sent through Epaphroditus to “share with [him] in [his] affliction” and underwrite his missionary efforts — this gift did not go unnoticed by God Himself, and He would bless them for it.

The lesson is clear: God meets our needs when we give to help the needs of others.  Likewise, any church will be blessed financially when she gives to help others rather than just to maintain itself.  Jesus Himself promised this in Luke 6:38 — “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”

Lord, help us never to forget this lesson in giving.  On our journey This Day, if we see a need, help us to open our hearts and give.  Amen.