Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Verses that inspire

This week's study of Euodia and Syntyche brought us to a pretty familiar passage in Philippians, and it contains a verse that many have clung to over the years.

Let me show you which one:
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)
It struck me as I read, that verse 19 means nothing without the verses that precede it. Let's look at the whole passage:
 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. 15 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; 16 for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need.17 Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 18 I have received full payment and have more than enough. 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. 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:10-19)
Are you seeing the same light at the end of the tunnel that I saw? (Grin)
It's almost like, if he were talking instead of writing, that Paul might have said, "and as a result of your sacrifice and giving attitude," .....my God will meet all your needs......

I'm not balmy, I promise!
Let's look at the clues . . .
First, they sent aid to Paul more than once. And now that he received their gift, he is "amply" supplied. Not that he needed much, since he had learned to be content, whether he had a lot or a little! He called their gift a fragrant offering and a sacrifice . . . sounds like he knew his peeps at Philippi, and that they may not all have been as wealthy as Lydia. They may have given even more than perhaps they "should" have, because of their love of God, and their love for the man who taught them about Jesus Christ.
Sacrificial giving . . . sounds familiar.
But I, with shouts of grateful praise,    will sacrifice to you.What I have vowed I will make good.    I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord. (Jonah 2:9)
Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. (Deuteronomy 15:10)
Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” (Mark 12:41-44)

So should we take Paul's words in Philippians to mean that (like some ole time television speakers used to say) Christians have a pipeline to riches and wealth and if you're not rich, you're not doing it right?
Umm, in a word, no.
Paul doesn't say that.
Some people have tried to make it so. But that, as my grandma used to say, "don't make it so." The rewards we are promised are not part of making a deal with God. He is sovereign, and we can't MAKE Him do anything! Our motives must be rooted in simple thankfulness for His mercy and His grace.

But guess what! He truly will supply all of our needs . . . not our wish list, but our necessities. (Grin) And when the "books are closed" and we are thinking about things while we're in heaven, none of us will ever say that we gave more to God than He gave to us.



Have you an inspiring verse to share?

1 comment:

Katie Isabella said...

AMEN! I love those verses. And the meaning. It never grows old.