Theme of the Week: The Goodness of Generosity
Bible Verse: “Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account.” Philippians 4:17
Scripture Reading: Philippians 4:10-20
“Can I help you, Dad?” If I have lots of time, I love this question. When I’m hurried, not so much; note that my evaluation mainly revolves around how it affects me. Saying ‘yes’ almost always means my daughters grow (and probably me too). The loving thing to do is usually to accept the help.
Paul’s prison experience did not include a meal plan. If his friends didn’t feed him, he starved. With no Skip the Dishes available, the Philippian church sent Epaphroditus with food and company for persecuted Paul. Starvation staved off; Paul’s response is jarring. “It was nice to get your help, but I’m honestly fine without it. I’m glad you helped because it was good for YOU.”
Is Paul ungrateful? Proud? We label people’ helper’ and ‘helped’ in North America. We have an epidemic of self-sufficiency. Better to help yourself than be helped by others. Best of all, be a helper of yourself and others.
Paul loved the Philippian church. He loved them enough to know they got as much out of giving as he got out of receiving. He embraced his neediness while reflecting on their need to grow in love.
Those of us with too much personal responsibility need to embrace our needs. Put differently, our independence and refusal to accept help from others keeps them from being blessed and growing in love. The next time you find yourself sick, accept a meal even if you can manage without it. The next time you build a deck, let your friend help you even if you could do it yourself. Allow others to teach you even if you could get the same information on YouTube. If you cannot accept help, you lack love.
One of the most generous things we can do is let others be generous to us. A few of us might be too “needy,” but I bet most of us reading have a more challenging time accepting help than giving it. I hope Paul’s response jars you in a more generous way.
Prayer: Lord, Thank you for this surprising word of correction. Please reveal any pride in my life, and help me learn humility. Show me when I should accept help so that others might grow. Amen.
Reflection: Ask God to reveal any areas where accepting help would benefit you and the giver. If something comes to mind, humble yourself and ask.
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