Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.
(Philippians 4:14-17 ESV)
Paul has just told the Philippians that he was perfectly content even when he had little because of the strength that came from Jesus in such situations. The Philippians may have read those verses and thought that sending money to Paul was unnecessary or even a mistake.
Paul realizes this so he tells them that even so (“yet”) they did the right thing in sending their gift. The original Greek word for “kind” is καλοσ (pronounced: kal-oce’) which means “honorable”. Giving to help others who are in need is commendable. God is pleased when we do such things.
God commands His children to take care of others who need help [Philippians 2:4; Hebrews 13:16]. Once a person has been saved through faith in Christ and is part of God’s family [John 1:12] they are no longer to live for self as non-believers do. We are to live sacrificially.
Our faith in Christ saves us from the penalty of our sins, which is eternal separation from God (aka “hell”). Our lives from that point serve one purpose: to further the Gospel message to the rest of the world. We do that through various means including practical measures such as volunteering our time and the giving of our resources, including money.
It is not enough to simply have faith and be saved and then live a life that is devoted to personal comfort. We are to “share” the troubles of others. The Greek word for trouble could also be translated as distress or discomfort. When a child of God sees another person going through a tough time we should give to them [James 2:14-17]. Doing so alleviates that person’s needs but is also pleasing to God because it demonstrates His love through the giver.
When someone gives to another God will reward that person [Luke 6:38; Proverbs 19:17; Proverbs 22:9 et. al]. This is why got Paul so excited about the gift he received from the Philippians. He could live without the money. But the gift itself was a demonstration of the Philippians faith.
By giving the Philippians were being obedient to God [Galatians 6:2]. Obedience demonstrates faith. But the Philippians, who were poor as we’ll learn tomorrow, gave to help another in need because they had faith in God to take care of them.
Many non-believers have issues with verses like these because they think the church is simply after our money. Even believers have a hard time parting with our money. Money provides security. But as Paul taught us yesterday, God wants to be our security.
Of course we need money to live. God is not calling us to live in poverty. But God is more interested in our spiritual health than our financial wealth. Giving to help others is “to our credit” as it does more for us spiritually than money could ever do for us financially.
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