Saturday, 4 March 2017
For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. Philippians 4:16
Philippi was an extremely poor church as far as worldly wealth is concerned. On the other hand, Thessalonica was much richer. And yet, it was the Philippians who supported Paul while he was in Thessalonica. The Greek reads, “both once and twice” they sent aid to him. It is a way of saying that they helped him, and then sent more again later.
Paul even notes in both 1 & 2 Thessalonians that he worked with his own hands in order to support himself. This is something he could not have written to them unless it was true. Along with his own work, he received from Philippi, but not from the Thessalonians –
For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God.” 1 Thessalonians 2:9
“…nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you,” 2 Thessalonians 3:8
What this verse then shows us is that those in Philippi helped him not only when he departed Macedonia (verse 15), but even while still in Macedonia and attending to a sister church. It may seem curious that he would accept help from one church that was so poor, and not from other churches which were wealthy, but Paul was teaching each a lesson. The poor were exalted through their giving, while the rich were humbled through his example of working with his own hands.
Neither was inappropriate, but perfect for the circumstances of the church. He wisely instructed others about how to conduct themselves in both spiritual matters, and in life’s daily matters which were connected to the spiritual.
Life application: Let us remember those who are in the field and in need, helping them with their necessities. Let us also tend to them with an additional blessing so that they can be filled.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the care You have for each of us. We may have abundant life, good things, blue skies, and the ability to work with our hands – each a blessing from You. Or, we may have trials and troubles and gray skies. And yet, these also are blessings from You. They show us that we are ultimately dependent on You for true fulfillment. Help us to realize that the low spots are just as important as the high mountain peaks. And give us the wisdom to thank You for both. Amen.