Sep 24 8:17 AM
Sep 24 8:17 AM
Sep 24 8:17 AM
Friday, September 24, 2021
In my last life lifter, I wrote about the joy of getting help from others. It's pretty obvious that if somebody helps you, you should be joyful. And we want to not only be joyful for having friends or people to help us, but we also want to be joyful for God who provided those friends or others to help us. But it's easy to just appreciate what people do for you and think about it from your perspective, but the Apostle Paul has something to add to it. A little bit of background from last time, Paul was appreciating the gift that the Philippians gave him, and said, "No other church supported me, but you did. You supported my ministry when I really needed it the most." He said he was really thankful and finds joy in the help they gave. But now he qualifies it by adding even more commentary to say something beyond the joy he found in being helped.He also find found joy in the growth of those who helped him. So he didn't just find joy in what he received. He found joy in the heart of the people who gave.
Look at what he says in Philippians 4:17-18, "Not that I'm looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. I have received full payment and even more. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God." Paul is referring to the Philippines giving him a gift to fund his ministry when he was running low on funds, or had no money, and no other church helped him. He says he was not looking for a gift, even though he needed it, but was looking for something to be credited to the Philippians' account. That's a deep statement. In other words, at the end of the day you get money for ministry to help people grow. When you help people grow by having them give to your ministry, it's the same thing. Money is a means to an end, and that's to help people find Christ and grow in faith in Christ. He's saying, "That's what I'm seeing in you. The money is great, but the joy I find is not the money you gave, but the reason that you gave it because you have the right heart." He's talking about them and their heart in giving and how proud he was to see people growing like that.
Then he goes on to say, "I have received full payment and even more. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God." Those are the kinds of descriptions that speak more than just about the amount. They speak to the giver. And here's the point: when people help you, you should find joy in getting help from people. That's what we talked about last time. But if you love God, and you love people, you should also find joy from the way people are growing and maturing and being more Christ-like as they give to you. So you should be thankful for the gift and thankful for the giver themselves, and how they're growing and how they're being Christ-like when they help. One of the great things in life is to watch people grow.
At Lakeshore, we sometimes get a knock or a myth that all we want to do is help people who aren't sure about Jesus Christ put faith in Christ. People say that's all we care about. Anybody who has come here knows that's simply not true. The biggest thing is after you come to faith in Jesus Christ, we want to help you grow. It's why we offer things like First Steps, Second Steps, Discover Lakeshore, Discover Your Purpose, Small Groups, Midweek Bible Study, and the like. We do all these things for one reason. We not only want to help people become Christians, we want to help people grow as Christians. That's what brings us joy. It's one thing to see somebody become a Christian, but if somebody becomes a Christian and doesn't really grow, that's not as satisfying as if they did grow. We love that. So the Apostle Paul, he loved that the Philippians gave him a gift, but he loved even more that they were the kind of people that would give gifts. Do you love people for what they do? Or do you love people for who they are, which leads them to being generous and helping you in doing what they do? I suggest that you love people for who they are. Love them, appreciate them. Not only their gift, but appreciate them, because if you love people, you want to see people grow.
We live in a dark world where a lot of people aren't growing, aren't spiritually interested, and we need to celebrate those that are. I find joy in that. I find joy in seeing many of you who come to Lakeshore grow in your faith. It's exciting. I hope you'll do the same. So let's pray. Father, thank you so much for this message on the joy we find in seeing others grow. The apostle Paul found joy in the Phillipians growing, so help us to find joy in seeing others grow as well. We thank you for it in Jesus' name, amen.