I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen. Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
This portion of scripture has the header “God’s provision” in my Bible, and for good reason. Paul is thankful, humble, and grateful for the support and monetary gifts sent to him from the Philippians church. We see from the text they have partnered with Paul in the past, and he is thankful for their generosity again. Not only is he “well supplied” monetarily and physically by the gifts, he is even more grateful for the heart behind it. Thankful for their motives of kindness (verse 15) and concern (verse 10). The verses also hint that they have sacrificed greatly to meet his needs. Have you experienced sacrificial and lavish generosity before? It does leave you humbled and thankful for the friends or family who have showed that kindness.
Paul is thankful for their kindness and the practical help, but he takes care to highlight God’s provision of contentment in Christ. No matter if that money or support came through or not, Paul could be content in his outward circumstances because his contentment lay within. Colossians 2:9-10 says “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.” We have all that we need to meet this life in front of us in Christ. Can you imagine that reality? Not having to chase after security or stress over our comfort.
I remember God teaching me the lesson of contentment shortly after I married Carlo. I was overjoyed to be married to the love of my life, but I found myself still struggling with discontentment. You see I had always placed marriage as the pinnacle of my achievements and treasures, and now that I had it, I still wanted more. A different job, a different home, more friends, more time with my husband, less responsibilities, different ministry opportunities…the list goes on. I had been living chasing one thing after the next, hoping that it would fulfill me but coming up empty. God really spoke to me from Psalm 16:5-6. “The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.” I realized that I would never be satisfied if I sought fulfillment in people or outward circumstances. I had to find that contentment in Christ Himself. And what a treasure He is.
After reading these verses we are faced with a few questions. Are we willing to sacrifice for others? We know that God in turn will meet all of our needs. Do we live as though we have been provided for in every way? Our good Father does not leave us lacking in anything. We can trust Him to provide everything that we need in this season that we are in.