Many places in Scripture, God promises to meet our needs. A couple of newsletters ago, we saw Jesus’ promise that God will provide what we need as we seek first his kingdom and his righteousness (Matthew 6:33).
Like all promises in Scripture, this one in Philippians 4 has a context. The context here is the Philippians’ having sent a monetary gift to Paul to provide for his needs while he was in prison. They had sent this gift with Epaphroditus, one of their community (Philippians 2:25; 4:18). This gift was actually a continuation of their support for Paul, dating back to the time immediately after the establishment of the church in Philippi and continuing through Paul’s stay in Thessalonica (Philippians 4:15-16).
We often memorize and quote Scriptural promises like this one without much reference to the context. But God yearns for a two-way relationship with us. On the one hand, he longs to provide for all our needs; and on the other hand, he wants us to trust in his provision to the point that we cheerfully give back to him. This is not a formulaic “put money in the offering plate and receive blessings in return” transaction but a true relationship of giving to each other: God to us, and us to God. As we travel down this road, we inevitably realize that we can’t outgive God!
As we approach the season of Lent, we’re reminded again of how much God has truly given to us. We’re reminded all over of how Jesus,
being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
— Philippians 2:6-8
As Paul says elsewhere, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things”? –Romans 8:32
Stewardship – whether it’s in earning, giving, saving, or spending; whether it’s in finances, time, relationships or opportunities – is all about knowing and trusting the God who meets all our needs, and responding to him with our lives.