SATURDAY, APRIL 15
Author: Rev. Deanne Townsend, Pastor for Family Ministries
FROM THE BIBLE
“I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
Paul loved the Philippian Christ followers. He was deeply grateful for how they cared for him and even more for how their community was growing in faith. Paul wrote the words below to another Christian community to tell them about the Christ followers in Philippi:
“In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us.”
Paul was the beneficiary of the change the Good News brought to Philippi, but the Philippian Christ followers received the ultimate blessing. Following a period of time when they could only want to support Paul in his ministry, the Philippian community was finally able to do so. Paul was overjoyed – not for the gifts – for the givers.
When my children were in elementary school, Trey would take them to the Christmas Fair, where they each selected a present for me. On Christmas morning, the children watched intently to see my response to their gifts. With anticipation, I opened each wrapped gift carefully and made sure they knew that I adored each one. My thankfulness wasn’t over the trinket or the earrings that would turn my skin green – it was seeing the children’s joy in giving each gift.
Paul deeply thanked the Philippians for their generosity. Through their generosity, their community was bearing fruit for the gospel. By God’s grace, they were able to be increasingly generous with what little they had. Of the Philippian church, I have heard it said, “Christ, not currency, had possession of their hearts.”
For Paul, the uncommon generosity of the Philippians was positive proof of their ongoing growth into mature faith. This made their sacrificial offering fragrant to God. As a blessing to the Philippians, Paul reiterated his assurance that God, in Jesus, our ultimate blessing, would never fail to provide for them riches no amount of money could ever buy.
For generations, Peachtree has been a mouthpiece for the Good News of the gospel. We have had the privilege of sharing in service to the Lord’s people. God has abundantly used our resources within our community and across the world, and because of Christ, these offerings are fragrant to God. Because Christ has possession of our hearts, let us joyfully honor the past and invest in the future as we continue to be increasingly generous with what we have.
Gracious Lord, Thank You for Your great love and the privilege we have to join You in joyful service to Your people. You, Lord, are our ultimate blessing, the one who will never fail to provide abundant riches in Christ. Capture our hearts for You and work within us to be increasingly generous with what we have. We pray that our mouthpiece for the gospel will continue for generations to come. In Christ name, we pray, amen.