JOY AND CONTENTMENT
In all situations. (10–14)
It appears some time elapsed between early gifts from the Philippian church and the latest one delivered by Epaphroditus. The statement “revived your concern for me” didn’t mean the Philippians lost interest, but they lacked opportunity to send another gift (v. 10). Their assistance resulted in joy for Paul, not because of the gift but in the Lord. In other words, joy was not connected to Paul’s financial situation.
Why? Paul learned to be content in whatever circumstance (v. 11). At times he had been well fed. But other times, Paul was in great need. For example, in prison, where he needed to supply his own food, he assuredly experienced the reality of going hungry and doing without many comforts. We don’t know the full extent of Paul’s sufferings and hunger, but we do know he wasn’t complaining. Instead, he learned the secret to abounding in every circumstance (v. 12). How was this possible? Through Christ who strengthened him! (v. 13).
Verse 13 refers to the beautiful secret Paul discovered: Christians can be content in all situations because of the sufficiency of Christ, who continually strengthens them.
Through other believers. (15–18)
Even though Paul was content, he still appreciated the church’s support. At the beginning of his gospel ministry, these believers were the only church to partner with him (v. 15). Even when Paul went to Thessalonica, the Philippians sent gifts several times (v. 16). No wonder he is filled with such joy over the Philippian church; the depth of their relationship and partnership was unequaled. Make no mistake, Paul did not write this letter as a fund-raising appeal with a “return envelope” seeking another gift. Instead, he sought these Christ-followers to receive credit or blessings because of it; their deeds would not go unnoticed by God (v. 17). So generous was their gift that Paul was fully provided for and was “paid in full and more” (v. 18).
These good deeds not only satisfied Paul but also were a fragrant offering and sacrifice pleasing to God. The church at Philippi’s giving serves as a model for us to follow. Often God provides for people in need through the generosity and presence of other Christians. Is there someone God has placed upon your heart who needs help today? Remember, God provides through other believers!
For His glory. (19–20)
Paul assured the Philippians they could not out-give God. Just as God met Paul’s needs through them, so He would meet their every need. In their poverty, God would provide. In their sufferings and opposition, God would supply whatever was needed.
The same is true today — God supplies His people according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (v. 19). The Philippians’ generosity toward Paul is exceeded beyond all imagination by the lavish “wealth” of the riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Amazing thought! The infinite riches of grace that belong to God’s glory will meet the needs of His followers. Thinking of God’s riches and glorious nature, Paul breaks into a beautiful doxology: “ … to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen” (v. 20).
As we complete our study of this beautiful, joyous letter, let us remember that the ultimate purpose of life is to bring glory to God both now and forever. Live your life and give your life for His glory alone!