But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction. You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs. Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account. But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen. Philippians 4:10-20 (NASB)
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
God has an expectation of full participation in his mission to the world for every follower of Christ. It is clear that the followers of Christ in the Philippian church fulfilled this expectation. Earlier in the week we saw these words about them from the Apostle Paul, "You have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ." Paul then went on to describe their participation in missions as a good work of God within each of them individually. We noted that their full and complete participation in missions is a significant thread that runs through the entire epistle of Paul to the Philippians.
That brings us to today’s passage where Paul prepares them to go forward and continue as full participants in God’s mission to the world by sharing his approach for staying on track. First, his commitment to God’s mission is such that he will accept and be content in whatever circumstances come to him as the result of his commitment. Second, Paul is able to be consistent in his acceptance and contentment in all circumstances through his reliance on Christ. He expresses this wonderfully with these famous words, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
Following Paul’s approach will be the key for them to continue in full participation as they go forward. It is interesting that Paul says of them, “no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone.” Their full participation includes supporting Paul in his full participation (note the detail of this in our passage). The difference between them and Paul is not the fullness of participation, but the kind of participation. Paul is engaged in taking the Gospel to the world, while they are doing so in the “world” in which they live their lives.
What does this mean for us? It means that we cannot fulfill this expectation just by throwing a little money toward cooperative “Mission” endeavors, saying a few prayers for “Missions,” and inviting our friends to church. We must be very careful that we have more than a “token” involvement. We need to let God help us do “mission” all the time in our own relationships with people. At the same we need to let God show us who he wants us to partner with in cooperative efforts in “mission” around in the world (like the Philippians with the Apostle Paul).
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, I make Paul’s words my own and say, “God, you will supply all my needs according to your riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” I recognize that this is your commitment to me as I seek to live out my commitment to you: to be a full participant in your mission to the world. "Now to our God and Father be the glory forever and ever. Amen."
(Be sure to scroll down to Sunday for prayer requests for our Missionaries from Sunday)
Posted on Sat, November 28, 2015
by Alan Porter