14 Yet it was kind of you to share] my trouble. 15 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. 16 Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.
Recipients of kindness should express their gratitude. If you don’t want to be perceived in the image of a beggar or mooch – when someone is generous to you, express your sincere gratitude. Make certain they know how much you appreciate the gift.
The local church in Philippi had been long-term supporters of Paul, to the full extent of their ability. He couldn’t say enough about their kindness.
The support of the church at Philippi to Paul, had been singular!
“No church” entered into partnership with him except Philippi. Clearly, this was not a case where churches funneled money through the church at Philippi (common today: the sponsoring church arrangement). Paul was overjoyed to receive from the generosity and selfless dedication of the Christians in Philippi.
Even when Paul was in Thessalonica (and not having a pleasant experience), the Christians in Philippi came to his aid, “once and again.”
And, for the sake of clarity, Paul stresses: “Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.”
Paul’s interest in and his commendation of their generosity was not simply that he wanted support. No. It was his interest in the blessings they received from their giving. Generosity helps the giver as much or more than the recipient.
Application: Churches today with the ability should carefully consider faithful men who preach the gospel and their needs. Faithful men who receive such support ought to be thankful to God, there are people making sacrifices for their need.
Grace and Peace