"Now my God shall be filling your every need in
accord with His riches in glory in Christ Jesus," - Phil.
This passage, like all others, must be viewed in the
light of its context. To fail to do so would be to miss the
lesson, as would, be the case in every other passage.
But before noticing the context, let us look at some
other passages that deal with the same matter in other
administrations. In Luke 21:1-4, we see rich folks casting
oblations into the treasury. Perhaps some of them put in fifty
dollars each; others, no doubt, contributed a hundred dollars
each. In imagination I can see how pleased they were at themselves
as they walked back to their seats.
If they had deigned to look at the Lord, Who was
standing near, they would not have seen a look of approbation on His
face. Instead, they might have seen disgust written there.
If they had asked Him, "Don't You think we are exceedingly
generous?" He might have answered, "It is
But just then a drudging widow approached the
treasury. There is no doubt that she felt ashamed of her oblation - it
was so small. She dropped in thirty-nine cents! I can
imagine that the rich folks sneered at her and the pittance she had cast
into the box. Such a small amount could do no good! Why did
not the poorly-dressed woman keep it, and stay out of such excellent
But now the Lord is speaking, and all will hear Him,
whether or not they want to. "Truly, I am saying to you, that
this poor widow cast in more than all," He says; and while the
people wonder if they have understood Him aright, He continues,
"For these all cast out of their superfluity into the oblations of
God, yet this woman, out of her want cast in all the livelihood which
Was ever greater wisdom uttered? He was not
only seeing what was cast in; that which concerned Him, was what was NOT
cast in. The rich had set aside their superfluity of money.
They would never need it. This they had given to God. It
represented a very, very small portion of their possessions. But
the widow would now eat no more until she had earned more money.
The amount was only thirty-nine cents, but it was all she had.
Therefore she had given, not simply more than any one of the others, but
more than they all!
None is too poor to give a large gift to the
Lord! A nickel given by a person who has only a nickel, is more
than a hundred dollars given by one who has a thousand dollars. It
is not a question of how much one gives; the question is "How much
did he keep back?" I told a congregation once, "You
should give till it hurts," and one replied, "I'm too poor to
give till it hurts." He is mistaken. The poor are the
only ones who make a sacrifice as a rule. Although the wealthy may
give large sums, they do not feel it. The poor man with only a
dime, gives half his money when de donates five cents.
Going now into a different administration, we will
turn to II Cor. 8, where Paul is writing about contributions for the
poor saints in Jerusalem. That was in the administration when
saints among the nations were participating in the spiritual things of
Israel, and were under obligations to minister to them in fleshly
things, (Rom. 15:27).
Telling the saints of Corinth about the generosity of
those in Macedonia, Paul says, - "seeing that in an extreme test of
affliction, the superabundance of the joy and the corresponding depths
of their poverty, superabounds to the riches of their generosity, seeing
that, according to their ability, I am witness, and beyond their
ability, of their own accord, with much entreaty beseeching of us the
grace and fellowship in a service for the saints; and not according as
we expect, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and to us through
the will of God," (II Cor. 8:2-5).
They were in deep poverty, but their joy was
superabundant. These two combined gave value to their
generosity. Perhaps they did not give much, but they gave beyond
their ability, and did it of their own accord. Indeed, they begged
for the opportunity to give. They longed for a part in this
fellowship. The secret of it all is, they first gave themselves to
the Lord and His slaves. When one does this he never regards
giving money a hardship. Rather, it is a privilege. Such a
saint is never looking for an opportunity to not give: he is afraid he
will not have the opportunity of giving.
The same theme is continued throughout the chapter
and into the next. And in 9:9 we have the assertion that "He
gives to the drudgers." The drudgers are the ones who make
real sacrifices in this matter. And God gives to them. Then
in verse 10 Paul prays that God will give material blessings to the
givers who make sacrifices in the things of the Lord.
Passing to the secret administration, when saints are
no longer under financial obligation to Israel, Paul shows that giving
is to be in the nature of contributions to the evangel, (Phil
1:15). Works of philanthropy the world has the opportunity of
doing, and does do. Saints are, for the most part, poor.
They, and not the world, love the evangel, and to them it is
committed. By far the larger part of them are not public teachers,
but when they give for the progress of the evangel they are serving as
well as are those who do teach publicly.
Timothy, who slaves for he evangel, is held up as an
example, (2:19-24). When a saint has this privilege it should be a
matter of rejoicing. Slaving for the evangel may be merely dusting
out the place of worship, or it may be plowing, hoeing and reaping in
the fields, with the intention of producing something to contribute to
the progress of the evangel. It may be any one of many lines of
Epaphorditus is another example, (2:25-27). For
long hours, day after day, he had trudged on foot toward Rome, that he
might minister to Paul a herald of the evangel. And though he
became ill, he went on. Nor was he concerned about his
suffering. This is slaving for the evangel.
Paul, himself, is another example, (chapter3).
Counting all else as refuse, the evangel and a knowledge of Christ Jesus
the Lord was paramount in his life. Even ritual of a former period
was disdained. To repudiate the "religion" which God
gave to Israel, and to modify previous truth to make it fit the
secret administration brings on great suffering. To labor in this
cause is slaving for the evangel; it is contributing to the
Christ Jesus is the supreme example given in this
epistle, (2:5-8). In this, humility and service are the
key-words. To have the same disposition is to be seeking a lowly
place to serve and suffer - not a high place where men honor
Now we come to the context of our text,
(4:10-18). There had been times when the saints in Philippi had
lacked occasion to minister to Paul, but even then they were disposed to
do so. But this disposition had blossomed. Fruit
followed. The apostle hastens to assure them that he is not
hinting at a want. Alas! how often it is necessary yet, to
disclaim any, selfish motive! He was aware what it was to be
humbled and filled. He had been initiated into the secret of
contentment in every condition. He was seeking the fruit which
would be increasing for their account.
But the saints had done ideally in contributing to
him. Their donations while he was with them, preaching for them
was good, (1:6); now, that he could no longer minister to them except by
writing, their contribution was ideal - a stronger word than
"good". So it is today. There are those who give
to me because I preach to them. That is good. There are
others who send contributions, although the only benefit they get from
me is reading the Messenger. This is ideal.
It was to saints who are contributing to the evangel,
that the promise of the text is made. He will be filling their
every need, and is not limited to the whims of men in doing so. He
will do it in accord with His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. No
saint need be in doubt as to those riches. Material things are
We need not be unduly alarmed at the doings of
congress, at the lowness of prices, or at the weather. God has set
Himself to the task of filling our need. We may disagree with Him
as to what we need, and may, therefore, feel that He is not fulfilling
His promise. But, what do you really need? Not so much as
you may imagine.
I say without hesitancy, that He will fill your every
need, and although He does it through others, it is He who does
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