Our tithes and support into fruitful ministries are as much for us as it is for the church and ministry. Paul understood this and gave praise to the Philippians for their support of Him. He knew their KONONIA with his ministry would receive the same blessings from God as if they were actually with him in person.
Philippians 4:10-14 “10 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. 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 14 Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress.”
In verse 10 Paul has not taken the position of a beggarly man. Verse 11-13 tells us he is capable of living in any condition. Remembering back in Chapter 1 we read that Paul praised them for being in “fellowship” with him from the beginning until now. He was not talking about having supper at each other’s house. The Greek word used was KONNONIA which is to say partnership with. The Philippians were the only church that recognized Paul’s call to the Gentiles and chose to partner with him in his evangelistic call. Paul knew of the words of Jesus written in Matthew 10:41 where partnership with a prophet receives a prophet’s reward. Paul is encouraging the Philippians and us that their support of his ministry was not for him; it was for their own reward. When we chose to support an outreach ministry we are in KONONIA with that ministry and will receive a reward as such. Every Christian is called to be in commission with Jesus and the Holy Spirit to preach the gospel to the world, but everyone cannot leave their jobs and go on the mission field. The way we can enter into this partnership and receive these blessings is through our monetary support of outreach ministries. Tithes are for your church’s needs, but offerings are for the outreach of the word of God.
Verses 11-13 are examples of a man that lives what he preaches. Remember in verse 4 of chapter 4 Paul says, Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Once again our happiness in life’s situations is not related to our outward peace or comfort and vice versa. We learned in chapter 4:6-7 what we are to do with problems and difficulties in life and we are now reading a personal account of a man that lives by the very words he preaches. His preached word is actually an explanation of how he lives and walks with Jesus and it is working. This is why I say Paul is not an arrogant man when he says follow my example in verse 4:9.
It amazes me that so few people fully tithe into their own church and how so many outreach ministries are strapped for the money they need to fulfill the call on their lives. It was never meant for the church to sit still and let people walk in and ask for Jesus (Matthew 10:7, Luke 9:2). The church is not a drive through salvation station, and yet there seems to be a “let them come in and receive salvation” mentality. People were never meant to get saved sitting in a church, we are to go out and take salvation to the world and “then” bring them into the church for fellowship, love, support, and teaching on their new life as a son or daughter of God. Paul was painfully aware of the direction the church was going back in year 65 AD with only one church, out of all that he planted, supporting his outreach ministry. This is why he has praised the Philippians in verse 14 for re-establishing their heartfelt commitment to supporting his life as apostle/evangelist.
We will always go through difficulties in life. Being a Christian does not relieve us of the pressures of life, but it does give us the ability to seek our God and the power of the blood of Jesus for help. Verse 13 is a foundational verse for the everyday walk of believers. Paul is telling us that it is his personal relationship with Jesus that gave him the strength to be in prison and still be joyful. Paul was hungry, but pressed on through the strength he found in his Lord. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me should be our very mindset as we walk in this life with Christ.
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