DAY 21 | PHILIPPIANS 4:9-14
Dear readers, I’m very excited to introduce another pair of guests posters to you. For the first time EVER, 30 Days Through Philippians has a co-authored day. Austin and Maddie Wofford are my dear friends—and neighbors! You might know one or both of them, since they used to be on staff at CSF. Austin Woff and I used to sleep in the same room (along with our other friend and former staff member, Blake Morris). Aside from being just two cool people, they are both Godly people who I respect. Give them your attention—you won’t regret it!
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” How many of us are familiar with this passage? Maybe we’ve seen this reference written on the sides of professional athlete’s shoes? Or recited it before a challenging task that would require incredible determination?
Despite the fact that we may picture this passage as a Rocky Balboa moment in the height of his training, it’s actually about…financial provision? Whomp whomp – everyone’s favorite topic during an economic recession. But I think it may be good for us to return to this passage today with fresh eyes. No matter your current circumstance in “corona-time” (as we’ve called it at the Wofford house), it comes as a mixed bag. There are many blessings and difficulties intertwined together – financially and experientially. And I believe this is where we find Paul as well…
This Scripture begins in Philippians 4:10 by saying, “I rejoice.” Paul begins his moment of financial need by rejoicing in what God has done through the Body of Christ. Paul has his eyes on what the Church is doing well. In the Passion Translation it goes on to say, “My heart overflows with joy when I think of how you showed your love for me by your financial support of my ministry. For even though you have so little, you still continue to help me at every opportunity.”
What is Paul rejoicing in? Radical generosity in a time of little. This is the way of Jesus and the opportunity for the Church in this hour.
Just a few weeks ago, we found out that some of our friends living in a large city lost their jobs due to COVID19. They were already living paycheck to paycheck and really were in a bind. Simultaneously, our household income came to a screeching halt. We were in the same situation, but because our living expenses were lower in a smaller city, we had much more stored up for this emergency situation we found ourselves in. We knew immediately that we had to do something to help our friends. At first, we were considering the idea of gathering the financial provision that they needed from a group of believers and sending it to them. This would help “share the load” with others. There was nothing wrong or unbiblical at all with this approach, but as we leaned in to pray about how to do this, we both sensed this was an opportunity to live out radical generosity and cover a large part of the expenses on our own – to practice what we preach “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (a verse God had been speaking to us before the opportunity arose).
Paul rejoices and calls the Church to rejoice over such exchanges. It reminds us of the story in the Gospels when a poor widow comes to give her “widows-mite” coin to God in the temple. Jesus loudly announces to the people around him, “Others have given out of their abundance, but she has given everything that she has.” In a recession, or time of financial instability, how might the Holy Spirit be leading us to radical generosity? Despite our American culture’s highest value of security and abundance, we do not give only in abundance. We live in a different Kingdom with an economy that moves through the generosity and obedience of the children of God. Christians give radically. This has marked Christians throughout history. We listen to His voice and obey, trusting that “we can do ALL things in Christ who strengthens us.”
If our giving means, giving a little or giving all, Christ is our anchor. Our hope is not found in security. As Paul says… in abundance or lack, we have learned to be satisfied in any circumstance. We belong to Jesus – our whole-selves and all that we have. As we engage with earthly needs and cultural issues, we bless because we are blessed in Christ eternally.
He is our Source. He is our Provider. He is the Miracle-worker in our need. He is close to us in our lack. And He makes us content in all things.
In our coffee photo this morning, you’ll find a gold necklace in hand with a small black antiquity dangling from the chain. This is a widow’s-mite coin from the Holy Land that dates back to the time when Jesus walked the streets of Jerusalem. Every time I wear it, I remember that Jesus celebrates “giving everything she had” and how we want this to be the posture of a generation before Him. Let it be a reminder today that in abundance or lack, He deserves it all.
Father, we come to Your throne boldly today asking that You would make us like the Philippians who lived radically generous in their lack. Make us a people who love you with everything, our hearts and our possessions. Jesus be glorified in our lives in this unique season. We give you our hearts to mold and shape to value what You value. Holy Spirit, come and fill us up afresh—mark us by Your power and guidance to be content in all things because we have You. Only You can satisfy our lives, You are the Treasure. Amen.