"For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability" - 2 Cor 8:3 (NIV).
In his mission to proclaim the Good news of Jesus Christ Paul set up Churches in Galatia, Philippi, Thessalonika, Corinth and Ephesus and lots more. He always felt an attachment to these churches. On Paul’s second missionary journey, he returned to Galatia. “So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers” (Acts 16:5).
Each church was unique with particular good gifts. The church in Antioch of Syria was deeply involved in the missionary work of Paul and Barnabas. "While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on themand sent them off" Acts 13:2- 3).
When it came to the church in Phillipa it excelled in giving. The believers in Phillipa were not self centered for as Paul noted to them, "How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me" (Philippians 4:10).
It's quite clear that when it came to giving, they didn't need much prompting. He went on to add, "As you know, you Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help when I first brought you the Good News and then traveled on from Macedonia. No other church did this. Even when I was in Thessalonica you sent help more than once" (vv 14-16).
We all know there are places and individuals who will count every penny before donating a piece, which there are then quick to remind the recipient. Such donors never forget "how much they gave" and find every occasion to remind the recipient of "that last gift we sent you!" Here we see that it is actually the opposite- recipient is one who takes the trouble to remind the donor of their gifts.
Wouldn't it be nice if we all emulated the habits of the believers in Phillipa! One way is to start by being concerned with the needs of others beyond self. And once an opportunity comes we can't wait to be part of a great and rewarding effort. The blessings are for us; "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" (vv 19).
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, I thank you for all the blessiings in my life that I may never hesitate to share the same through giving, as you enable, this I pray in Jesus's name.
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23/02/2024 - 24/02/2024 All day
“The LORD will send rain at the proper time from his rich treasury in the heavens and will bless all the work you do. You will lend to many nations, but you will never need to borrow from them” – (Deuteronomy 28:2).
Every now and then one chances upon someone despising the importance of being enterprising. To some being enterprising can be equated to the love of money and it’s pitfalls (1 Tim 6:10). Others see it as being overtly worldly. Yet, far from it, being enterprising is clearly an avenue God has given believers to raise resources for their well-being and promotion of the rich Gospel.
The Bible is full of enterprising characters who were used mightily of God. Abraham was apparently a good rancher that he “become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold” (Gen 13:2). Job was hated by Satan who sought to destroy him because “He owned 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 teams of oxen, and 500 female donkeys. He also had many servants. He was, in fact, the richest person in that entire area” (Job 1:3).
The Lord Jesus Christ was born and raised in the house of Joseph, the carpenter (Mathew 13:55). Carpenters do not create works of beauty to donate for free. To prosper they must run sustainable enterprises which pay taxes and make profit. The Apostle Paul would often rely on enterprising people to support him in his ministry. One of his worthy converts “was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God (Acts 16:14).
Though Paul was a law don once he went to the mission field, other than cling to his titles by burdening his hosts he often dabbled in tent making to support himself. In Corinth he teamed up with an amazing couple, Priscilla and Aquila, and “because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them” (Acts 18:3). This couple run a successful tent making business that enabled them support mission work.
And then of course, there is the noble woman of character, as told in Proverbs 31, who “selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings.. She sees that her trading is profitable…She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes (vv 13-25).
When the body of believers is filled with such enterprising people it generates resources important to sustain God’s work. Further, the work of God is then supported without being dependent on sources that might compromise the mission, as sometimes we see! Be enterprising!
Prayer for today: Lord father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, you who has given us the gift of enterprise, today I pray to use this gift to take care of my needs and support the expansion of your kingdom on earth, this I pray in Jesus’ Name.