(Warren E. Berkley)
I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen. Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
It is noteworthy, in these final verses of Paul’s letter to Philippi, that the apostle was not a tedious accountant about his reception of generosity.
Some people are. We had that couple over for dinner, but they have never paid us back!
Or, I loaned him $100 when he was in need, but now he can’t loan me $50!
This is that tedious accounting mentality that keeps records about deeds both done and received, with expectation that everything must perfectly balance.
Contrary to this accounting mentality, the Lord said, “…do good and lend, expecting nothing in return,” (Lk. 6:25).
It is apparent, Paul was not burdened by the accounting mentality, and that he embraced the spirit of what Jesus taught.
“I have received full payment, and more.” Paul favored the people of Philippi by delivering the gospel of Christ to them (see Acts 16). Those who became Christians gave generously to Paul, in support of his evangelistic work (see verse 15). In this fellowship, Paul didn’t put a price on anything and he didn’t harbor an expectation of some perceived (carnal) perfect balance. Rather, he was satisfied and grateful. “I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.”
In Paul’s heart, this was all good. Why? Because their fellowship was “pleasing to God.” Instead of expecting a perfect balance in their exchange with each other, if it was pleasing to God, Paul was happy.
Paul hoped and prayed for them that God would “supply every need” they had. This supplication was based on the riches in glory God provides in Jesus Christ. And this leads to Paul praise, “to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Paul’s good will continued: “Greet every saint in Christ Jesus.” Brethren with Paul joined him in this: “The brothers who are with me greet you.” Other were included: “All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”
Paul didn’t know how to press upon people the accounting mentality. Paul knew how to write a great “thank you” note!
Paul knew how to preach and write the truth of God. But his heart was not dry and academic or robotic. His deep, sincere emotional nature shines through in these final words to his Christian friends in Philippi. May we learn to nourish this spirit.