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.
LORD Jesus, we praise You, for You are Jehovah-jireh, the One who cares and provides for His people. Forgive us, O God, we pray, whenever we fail to care for others in need. Help us that we will not lack opportunities to do so. Give us the wisdom and make us good stewards of what You have given to us. Enable us to see who it is that is in authority of our wealth, our health, and our time. In Jesus’ precious name, we pray. Amen.
Lack of Opportunity to Help Others
Something that frustrated me during the lockdowns was that we as Christians were unable to help others as much as we should have. Even though we might have cared about others because of restrictions, we lacked many opportunities to lend a hand.
There might have not been a pandemic that caused a lack of opportunity for the Philippians to help Paul. Whatever has been the cause of it, though, it hindered the Philippians from adding more “fruit” (profit) to their heavenly account.
No, this is not works-driven, and it does not help a non-believer to get into God’s Kingdom. It is, by the Grace of God, what should happen once a person is born-again. It is taking what God provides for us (our wealth, our health, our talents, or our time) and sharing it with others to fill their needs.
Sharing Our Wealth
Leviticus 25:35-38 tells us to look after our poor brother or sister in Christ. If it is in our power to lend money, we are not to take any interest from our brethren. We are not to lend money or food at a profit. The fact is, we are to give the money freely, not expecting it back from our brother or sister.
That does not mean that we should be unwise in our way of handling what God has given to us. No. Instead, we ought to be good stewards of what God has provided, and fear our God. We need to gain more, not to hoard it, but to be able to give more. “Blessed to be a blessing.”
Other Ways to Help
You might not be rich, but there are surely other ways you can help someone in need.
How about cooking one or the other meal for a family? Could you assist the elderly man and clean his home now and then? Or, what about your neighbor, that single mom who lives just around the corner? Would you mind helping her in any possible way? Maybe watching her kids while she is going to the movies, or helping her kids to do their homework?
True, we as Christians should be able to say like Paul did,
I can do all things
through Christ who strengthens me.
On the other side, though, we should also be able to freely receive the offering/s that our brethren are willing to give to us in the name of the LORD (Philippians 4:14).
Seeking the Opportunity to Help
Note, it will not matter, if it is “your” money to cover their expenses, or your God-given talent to share your expertise for free, or your time. What matters is that you care, and that you are happy for the opportunity to help.
Paul did not pressure anyone to help him. He could live in whatsoever state he was in and be content (Philippians 4:11). Instead, he cared about the Philippians, fruit that abounds to their account (Philippians 4:17).
Now, and only after the former nine verses of the same chapter, comes the next verse which is so often taken out of context,
And my God shall supply all your need
according to His riches
in glory by Christ Jesus.
A verse followed by praising the One who made it all possible (the receiving and the giving)
Now to our God and Father be glory
forever and ever.
Seek the fruit and give glory to God today.