“Wow. That’s a big ask.”
Taking a deep breath, he sat back as he said these words to me. I was asking him for a major spiritual and financial investment in the spiritual adventure of planting a church.
And regardless of the money, there was something I wanted him to experience. I wanted him to experience stepping out on faith and flying.
Have you ever had a moment where you stood on the precipice of a great opportunity to leap into His arms?
The Apostle Paul had plenty and so much of his life was marked by opportunities where he trusted and followed Jesus into the glorious unknown. Connecting us to where we were last week , the Apostle Paul continues in Philippians 4:14-17
14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15 Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16 for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. 17 Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account.
Philippians 4:14-17, NIV
He had just stated that he knows what it’s like to have plenty and to not have enough, yet Paul knew contentment regardless of circumstances (cf. Philippians 4:10-13). His dearly loved brothers and sisters in the faith in the Roman city of Philippi could have thought Paul was unappreciative of their support.
The Apostle Paul knows all his support ultimately comes from Jesus, but it was good for the Philippian Christians to partner with him in the advance of the Kingdom of Jesus.
He reminds them that at the beginning of their own faith journey with Jesus, they were his only partners when he “set out from Macedonia” (most likely heading for the Roman city of Corinth). It wasn’t that no other church ever assisted him, but that it was the Philippian Christians who were his partners in spreading the Gospel at that point in his journey.
He uses this partnership language through the passage and reminds them it wasn’t that he desired the money (again, cf. Philippians 4:10-13), but he wanted the Lord to continue to develop the “grace of giving” in them (2 Corinthians 8:7).
What Paul wanted was not something from them, but something for them.
As Christians, we make financial investments in the advance of the Gospel and its rewards pay spiritual dividends. Just like the Philippians in Paul’s day, we engage in “giving and receiving” when we do this: we give the financial resources and we receive spiritually from the Lord.
Giving is not an act of business; it’s an act of worship. When the Lord gets a hold of our checking accounts, He’s got all of us.
Interestingly, we pastors learn really quickly: when someone starts giving, they’re growing and investing in their relationship with the Lord. But when they stop giving, their feet follow and they soon leave.
Investing in Gospel-work is part of our blessing of being a Christian.
Perhaps you’ve got an opportunity waiting on you now. Maybe when you think about it you’re leaning back, taking a deep breath, and thinking, “wow, God…that’s a big ask.”
Take the leap. It’s not about your financial gifts; it’s about having the faith recorded in your account and experiencing what it feels like to fly in grace.
We’re soon to end our study in Philippians.
I’d greatly appreciate your thoughts on where we should go next.
Want more like this? Consider my book: 31 Days of Spiritual Wisdom: A Month in the Proverbs. It is often said: knowledge knows a snake is in the grass and wisdom is staying out of the grass. While that creates a good working definition, there is undoubtedly more to applying knowledge than that. Moving through a selection of verses from a chapter of Proverbs for every day of the month, I walk readers through a journey of spiritual formation applicable to everyday life. The goal? Knowing how to apply the wisdom of Scripture so we grow in our faith, become wiser, and show the world the life-changing power of Jesus.