Expect To Be Blessed When You Are A Blessing

In one of his letters the Apostle Paul told the church at Philippi that he was rejoicing greatly because they had revived their concern for his material well-being. He told them that although he had learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need, and although he had learned how to do all things through Christ who strengthens him, he was still grateful for their support (Philippians 4:10-13).

Paul was thankful that by supporting him, the church had shared with him and fellowshipped with him in all his troubles on the mission field. The Philippian church was the only church that had supplied Paul’s needs when he had left Macedonia, and they had supplied his needs time and again when he was in Thessalonica (Philippians 4:14-16). Obviously, the church at Philippi was a church that gave freely of their resources and Paul was thankful for their continuing help.

Paul did not regard the Philippian church as only donors and supporters of his missionary endeavors, however, but as full-fledged partners in the spread of the gospel. As partners, Paul was not primarily seeking gifts of support for the ministry from them, but was primarily seeking “the fruit that increases to your credit” (Philippians 4:17). That is, Paul was not primarily seeking the gifts he received from them, but primarily the benefit they would receive for having supported him.

Perhaps Paul was thinking of the Old Testament story of the widow of Zarephath in I Kings 17 and the story of the wealthy Shunammite woman in II Kings 4, both of whom had supported prophets and had received benefits for doing so. Paul was less concerned with his own needs than he was with the benefit the Philippian church would receive.

It is in this context that our verse for today is found. Paul is saying to the Philippian church that God will supply their every need because they have partnered with him and supported him in the spread of the gospel.

Not everyone is called to go out on the mission field or to pastor a church, but everyone can partner with those who do and support them in the ministry. Paul’s message is that we can expect to be blessed for having done so.

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