Did you know that some of the great verses of the Bible, your favorite verses, have to do with generosity and glory? Take Philippians 4:19-20 for example. “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.” To really understand a great verse, we must read it in context. There are some great lessons to be learned in this passage. Paul is telling the Philippians that, because they met his need, God would meet their need. If you want to see the glory of God fall on your finances, it only comes through generosity. You give your tithe, and then you give offerings over and above the tithe. Here are three steps you can take when it comes to being generous:
In verse 6, Paul says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God….” God knows your needs better than you do, and He is able to meet your needs. Pray about everything! See the word thanksgiving? As we approach this season of Thanksgiving, pray about how you can give as God leads you. Verse 7 says, “…and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Instead of worrying about how you are going to pay your bills or increasing costs, you can have peace! God’s peace and provision come through prayer. If you are selfish, you have reason to be worried. God is not going to bless selfishness. Generosity is God’s way of receiving glory and helping others. Prayer is the way we prepare. Ask God to show you how to have a plan.
Paul continues, “But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity” (v. 10). Although Paul was in prison when writing, he did not have a victim mentality. He said, “I can accept all things” (v. 11), “I can do all things” (v. 13), and “I have all things” (v. 18). We, too, need to learn to accept the things we cannot change or have no control over. Paul had learned by experience to trust the providence of God. Life is filled with ups and downs, but God is in control! God sees the future, but more than that, He goes before us and arranges circumstances and situations to fulfill His purpose and bring Him glory. God sent Joseph to Egypt ahead of the famine to provide for his family and save many lives. “Life is not a series of accidents, but a series of appointments.” God appointments, God moments, God opportunities. God reveals His glory through generosity. As we care for the needs of others, God cares for us.
“Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress. Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only” (v. 14-15). It’s crazy to think that the Philippian church was the only one to share with Paul. Would others have shared with Paul if they had known he would write more books in the New Testament than anyone else? Would they have kept up their support if they had known the impact of Paul’s ministry? Can you imagine the fruit of that gift? The Philippians’ generosity helped with the beginning of the gospel. Today, our generosity helps with the continuation of the gospel. We are part of something that is going to last forever. When we give to the local church, we are investing in perpetuity. Paul was clear that he was not seeking the gift, but “the fruit that abounds to [their] account” (v. 17). He was saying, I don’t want something from you, but I want something for you. God is our source. If God does not meet you, the need it is going to go unmet. God works through people. Paul references Epaphroditus in verse 18. For someone to give someone has to receive. Don’t be so spiritual or sufficient that you can’t receive. Also, recognize that you don’t have to be rich to be generous. Generosity leads to God’s provision in your life. You are the answer to someone’s prayer, and in the process, you get your prayers answered and God gets the greater glory.
Circumstances change. The economy changes. Our supply never changes. God did not put you on the planet to exist. God wants you to do more than pay bills and survive. God created you for significance! Our ultimate purpose is to live for the glory of God. Together, we can make a difference for eternity and leave a legacy that far outlasts us. Make sure that your giving of money, energy, and time is going to have Kingdom impact. When you are generous, you can take Paul’s words to heart. “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”