Text: Philippians 4:15-20
Theme: Paul lived by faith and wisdom, trusting God for his needs one day at a time.
Key verses: “As you know, you Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help when I first brought you the Good News…No other church did this” (v. 15). “At the moment I have all I need–and more! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me…They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God. And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus” (v. 18-19).
What God said to me: Dwayne, good morning in the Carolina mountains! I’ve given you this time away to start a new book. Listen and obey; that’s all you need to do. I will show you what I want you to write that will be most helpful to people. As for this passage, Paul may not have actually written the words, “At this moment,” since they are not in any of the other translations. Furthermore, it’s not to be understood that Paul never thought ahead and planned as he could. He did. What you can glean from this passage is that Paul didn’t worry about tomorrow or the next day or the next. He knew I would take care of his basic needs and that I would use churches like the one at Philippi to help support him. He simply didn’t concern himself with where his next meal would come from. He totally relied on me for everything. He truly lived by faith. He had no doubt of my glorious riches and my ability to provide for him. In that sense, Paul lived in the moment. He had experienced moments and seasons when he was in dire need and in practical poverty. He knew what that was like; yet, it didn’t dampen his faith in his God. Paul didn’t see me as a bank or a genie granting his every wish. Even when he went without, he wasn’t deterred from his mission and from his deep love for me and the Gentiles he served. Paul was wise too. Notice he took ample time to write a long and thoughtful letter to the only congregation who had recently given to him. That’s smart. He wasn’t doing it to seek another gift from them. He said so himself. However, he did understand the power of appreciation, and he sincerely wanted to thank them and reward them for their generosity. Live wisely, Dwayne. Don’t squander what I bless you with, and show appreciation and sincere thanks to anyone who reaches out to help you along your journey. Never take my provisions through others for granted. And don’t fret about the huge hospital bill you recently got. I’ve already taken care of it. I will let nothing deter you from fulfilling your mission. Remember, I will always supply your needs and the needs of those who support you through my awesome riches and grace.
What I said to God: Thank You, heavenly Father! I so appreciate You speaking clearly to me on this Saturday morning. What a wonderful setting You have given me to write and meditate this week. Please help me not waste any time, but instead focus and listen and remain disciplined to write what I sense You show me. Thank You and praise You for reassuring me about the hospital bill. It looms over Sonia and me like a giant wrecking ball, threatening to destroy our hopes and dreams for our future. Yet I know You hold our future in Your hands. The heart attack and the subsequent lack of help from our insurance provider hasn’t take You off-guard. I know that with You leading and loving us, we have nothing to fear. Our future is secure as we seek to serve You and those You’ve called us to love and disciple.