Friday, September 11, 2009

9/12- Philippians 4:10-14 Giving from the heart

(Job and three friends)

Philippians 4:10-14

10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. 14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.

Calvin abridged: 10-“I rejoiced”- He now declares how grateful he is for the Philippians so that they would not regret their giving to him. They had sent supplies to him by Epaphroditus, and these were acceptable to him. The metaphor is drawn from trees that lie dormant in the winter, and begins to flourish and renew in the spring. The Philippians had cared for Paul, but they didn’t have opportunity to help him. 11- “I am not saying this because I have need”- their liberality helped him endure want. No person can be poor in mind who is satisfied with the lot which has been assigned to him by God. “whatever the circumstances”- we do not measure sufficiency by our abundance, but by God’s will, being persuaded that our affairs are governed by God’s providence. 12- “I have learned the secret of being content”- Prosperity can puff up; adversity can depress. Paul declares he is free form both faults. People should learn to make use of the blessings of God in a sober and temperate manner. But in the meantime they should prepare themselves for the endurance of poverty, so that they will not be overburdened. 13- “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”- Christ gives him fortitude. “All things” refer to things belonging to his calling. 14- “It was good of you” Paul wanted them to know he did not take for granted their kindness.

Thought: - The church gave toward Paul’s support, and it encouraged him. But he also wanted them to know that he was happy with much or with little. It was not how much he had or didn’t have that was important. Their love and concern was important. It is that way for anyone who gives- the amount is not as important as the thought of the gift.

Prayer: Lord, help us be content with your lot in life.

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