Philippians 4:14 Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.
As Paul closes his letter to the Philippians (4:14-23), he thanks them once again for their generous giving and care for him. He says that they ministered to him in his affliction. That word affliction speaks of being hard pressed. We could call it a tight spot or a difficult place. It is a word that describes someone who is anguished or in distress.
While the normal emphasis of these closing verses is on biblical principles for giving – many of which we will cover this morning – the point that I’d like us to consider is this: Giving is a way that we worship God. This giving includes actions much more than sending money. When Paul wrote his second letter to Timothy, he asked him to bring his cloak. Paul was not incarcerated in a heated cell. I have no doubt at all that these dear saints put together what we would call a “Care Package” of practical things along side of the money that they gave to Paul. While giving to support the furtherance of the gospel is commended in Scripture, so too are we commanded to support one another in practical ways (Matthew 19:21) when we are going through tough times – times of distress, times of loss, sorrow, or pain. It should be noted that these Philippians were not a wealthy congregation. Outside of Lydia who had her own business, 2 Corinthians 8:2-5 tells us the vast majority of the saints lived on a very low income. The key behind their giving was that they gave themselves first unto The Lord.
Sacrificial living and giving is always the overflow of a heart that has been given to The Lord. While many people may give generously, very few give sacrificially. Real giving is always costly. For God so loved… that He gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16). May The Spirit of God pierce our hearts today with a fresh awareness of His love for us that will be translated into a congregational lifestyle of sacrificial giving and living for the glory of God. Selah