November Reading from the Message
In Philippians, we read about Paul and his unwavering faith in the Lord’s provision. We learn that God blesses those who believe in him, and how we can receive generosity and see it work throughout a community of faith.
15-17 You Philippians well know, and you can be sure I’ll never forget it, that when I first left Macedonia province, venturing out with the Message, not one church helped out in the give-and-take of this work except you. You were the only one. Even while I was in Thessalonica, you helped out—and not only once, but twice. Not that I’m looking for handouts, but I do want you to experience the blessing that issues from generosity.
18-20 And now I have it all—and keep getting more! The gifts you sent with Epaphroditus were more than enough, like a sweet-smelling sacrifice roasting on the altar, filling the air with fragrance, pleasing God to no end. You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus. Our God and Father abounds in glory that just pours out into eternity. Yes.
21-22 Give our regards to every follower of Jesus you meet. Our friends here say hello. All the Christians here, especially the believers who work in the palace of Caesar, want to be remembered to you.
23 Receive and experience the amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, deep, deep within yourselves.
The Extravagant Generosity of God You
The gospel of Jesus Christ creates a community in which people care for one another, taking others into their homes, feeding them, giving them beds, and meeting their needs. How did the Philippians meet Paul’s needs? They gave him money. They didn’t simply say, “I’ll pray for you.” You see, Christians don’t separate the body and the soul, the material and the spiritual. Together, these are all included in our experience in the life of faith.
Paul wasn’t being selfish here. He was convinced that what happened to him in Christ can happen to anyone. What he experienced, everyone can experience. What he received, anyone can receive. Faith isn’t given only to people who have the right temperament, or who have a particular upbringing, or who have certain predispositions, or who get all the breaks. The act of faith deals with something that is basic in each and every one of us. At that level we’re met and changed and satisfied by Christ. Paul affirmed this when he wrote, “You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
We don’t all get the same feelings out of our faith. We don’t all get the same ideas out of it. We don’t all get the same standard of living out of it. But we all get the same God, who takes us seriously, forgives us absolutely, loves us eternally—and supplies everything we need.
And that should be our motivation for giving—the extravagant generosity of God.
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