Day 37: Paid in full
A LoveSingapore 40.Day prayer and fast devotional, following 2022's theme of To Live Is Christ: A Journey Through the Book of Philippians.
LoveSingapore // August 6, 2022, 12:01 am
Bible reading for 40.DAY 2022 | Philippians 4:18–19
Paul finally acknowledges the gift that prompted this letter. “I have received full payment.” This translates a technical term found on many ancient receipts of the day. The modern equivalent is: “Paid in full”.
Then, abruptly switching metaphors, Paul interprets their monetary gift as an act of spiritual worship.
God doesn’t need our money. But when we give with a true heart, He graciously receives our gifts as an expression of priestly worship – a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.
When we give with a true heart, God graciously receives our gifts as an expression of priestly worship.
This is especially true if and when we give out of our need, as the Philippians did, again and again.
Finally, Paul picks up yet another metaphor, one that characterises this whole letter. The metaphor of friendship.
Both then and now, friendship involves giving, receiving, and giving back. A true friend can hardly wait for the opportunity to return a kindness.
But Paul would have to wait a long time to be in a position to reciprocate his Philippian friends.
But not to worry. Whatever they have given to him for the sake of the Gospel, they have given to God.
So if Paul can’t reciprocate in kind, God Himself will take up the tab: My God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).
Many Christians who have never even read Philippians can quote this verse. And some of us who should know better, claim and confess it with no regard for its literary and historical context.
Paul is writing to a persecuted church that goes on giving and giving to the Gospel, not out of their prosperity, but out of their poverty (2 Corinthians 8:2).
And he is assuring his dear friends that, because they remember him in his need, God will remember them and supply all their needs. Not just their material needs, but every need.
Giving is godly. Giving is worship. Giving pleases God.
And not out of his poverty, for God is not poor. But out of His inexhaustible riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Paid in full!
Giving is godly. Giving is worship. Giving pleases God. And God rewards those who give to the Gospel and to the poor, especially when giving hurts.
Paul appropriately seals these great truths and concludes this inspired letter with worship in the form of a doxology: To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen (Philippians 4:20).
1 Giving is worship. Sacrificial giving is fragrant worship (Philippians 4:18).
Examine ourselves: Come offering time in church, do we give just enough pocket change to make us feel good? Or do we give until it hurts? Pray: Dear Lord, we confess our reluctance to give until we feel the pinch. We give out of our surplus. We scan the QR code and transfer a token.
Change our attitudes, O Lord. Stir our hearts to worship You sacrificially like the Philippians who, out of their extreme poverty, gave themselves and their money to You (2 Corinthians 8:1-5). Bend our wills until we are ready to place all that we have and all that we are on Your altar, like the poor widow in the temple who threw everything she had to live on into the offering (Mark 12:44). May we practise such sacrificial giving until we ourselves become fragrant offerings, pleasing and acceptable to You.
Lord, may we practise such sacrificial giving until we ourselves become fragrant offerings, pleasing and acceptable to You.
2 Giving is relational. A koinonia relationship of giving and receiving within the family of God.
- Humbly confess the truth: None of us can ever out-give the Lord. He is the Supreme Giver. He is no one’s debtor. Anything we offer Him is already His. And yet He insists on rewarding us lavishly: My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
- Humbly own up to our fallacies: Some of us take the above verse out of context. We cling to it as if it were a winning lottery number. We imagine a bank vault in heaven full of things we want, and we use Bible verses to unlock it. But the promise of Philippians 4:19 is for those who give sacrificially to the Gospel and the poor. Not in a calculative arrangement, but in a spiritual relationship between giver and beneficiary and God the Supreme Supplier of every need. Pray: Father in heaven, have mercy on us. We have been misled by the prosperity gospel. We return to your Truth: You supply our need, not our greed! We’re ashamed of our self-indulgence. We abuse Your Word by our name-it-claim-it presumption. We repent. Forgive us. Deliver us from evil. Protect us from deception so that future generations will inherit a wealth of lived truth to think right, speak right, live right, and give right.
3 Giving is stewardship. A privilege and a responsibility.
Celebrate the Truth: Lord, You own everything. The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours; the world and all that is in it (Psalm 89:11). Let Your Truth revolutionise our thinking on money and wealth management.
You are the owner of heaven and earth. You have placed us in this world, not as proprietors, but as stewards (John Wesley). Guide us to manage and distribute Your resources in Your way and for Your purposes. To live our lives with open hands. To hold all things lightly.
We relinquish any claim to the wealth You have entrusted to us, not for our own consumption, but as capital to invest in Your kingdom. We acknowledge Your right to remove anything from us any time as You please. Naked we came into this world, naked we go into the next. You give and You take away according to Your good pleasure and purpose (Job 1:21).
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