My gifts, your gifts

By Mirely Maldonado

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“Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.”—Philippians 4:17–20 (NKJV)

In his letter to the Philippian congregation, Paul gives thanks for the generosity of the Philippian believers who supported him financially at various times of need. He also mentions how he’s learned to be content regardless of circumstances, whether to be in want or having more than enough, because he knows he can do all things through Him who gives him strength (Philippians 4:12–13). However, because the Philippians were thoughtful and mindful of tangible needs, they sent him gifts, which is a beautiful display of how the body of Christ is to work.

He calls these gifts “a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.” Hebrews 13:16 (NKJV) says, “But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” Proverbs 19:17 (ESV) says, “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.” And Jesus Himself said, “Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:33–34). So, we can see our Lord is well pleased when we love one another (John 13:34), we bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), and we look to the interests of others (Philippians 2:4).

Today’s passage reads, “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” We can be generous and freely give because we have the Lord Himself as our source for all things, and His resources are endless!

The Lord wants us to live in community with others. He has created us all with different strengths, talents, and gifts. Inevitably, we’ll have times of need, and others will help us. Other times, we’ll help others with their needs. Paul often referred to believers and followers of Christ as a body: “For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another” (Romans 12:4–5 NKJV)

If you feel alone, ask the Lord to guide you where you can find and build a healthy community with others. If it doesn’t happen quickly, stay strong and keep holding on, as some of the most beautiful things the Lord puts together take time. And if you’re in need but don’t like to ask for help, ask the Lord to help you take that step of faith! He meets us right where we are and brings the right people on our paths, all in His perfect timing, just as He did for Paul.

Pause: List five gifts or talents you have.

Practice: Think about a friend, or stranger, that could use your help. Resolve to serve them, expecting nothing in return.

Pray: Father, in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, I come to you and ask that You lead me on when and where to serve others and have the humility to receive in times of need. Help me be a cheerful giver, expecting nothing in return but the joy and satisfaction of obeying Your Word. Amen.