Thursday, 2 March 2017
Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress. Philippians 4:14
The words of the previous verses spoke of Paul’s ability to be content in any and every situation without the need of external help. His reliance was on the Lord, and he therefore was satisfied in whatever state he was in. However, this was not intended to mean that he was not grateful for the gift which was sent to him.
It is for this reason that he states what he does now. “Nevertheless” is given to show that despite his ability to handle any situation, no matter how negative, it didn’t mean that he wanted to have such situations. Nor did it mean that a helping hand in one of them was unappreciated. Because of their help, he says, “you have done well.” It was no small thing to him that they had tended to his needs. Rather, it was of great blessing to him. This then goes back to his words of verse 1:7 –
“…just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace.” Philippians 1:7
Their gift made them partakers with him in the grace of defending and confirming the gospel. Though he was the one in chains, they “shared in” his distress. Together, they were workers for Christ. Each had their assigned role, and their help was a part of the process. As he noted, he could have done without the gift, but because of it they were a help to him, and it was also a proof of their love for him.
In Acts 20, he had told the Ephesian church the words of the Lord, that “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (20:35). Without saying that to the church at Philippi directly, he still conveys the thought. They are the more blessed because they have given. He is the recipient of their gift, and he is also blessed because of it.
Life application: Do you help support any missionaries? They may have struggles that we don’t even know about, and yet they continue to do their jobs. Most are entirely dependent on funding from others. In sending something to them, you will certainly be blessed. And they will be blessed as well. Be sure to remember to send something along to them so that they know they are not out in the world all alone.
Lord God, Your word tells us that it is more blessed to give than to receive. There are many needs out there that we can help with and thus obtain such a blessing. Help us to remember our missionaries, the ministries which tend to others, and friends who are in need. And then prompt us on to giving for those needs. Help us to not withhold a blessing from them and thus deprive ourselves of an even greater blessing. Amen.