The Circumstances of Their Liberality
Philippians 4:14-18
Notwithstanding you have well done, that you did communicate with my affliction.…

The apostle guards against any appearance of slighting their gifts by specifying the grounds of his joy in them.

I. THEIR LIBERALITY WAS NOT MERE ALMSGIVING, BUT AN ACT OF CHRISTIAN SYMPATHY. "Ye did well in communicating with my affliction." They were ready to share the burden of his troubles. There were no converts nearer to the heart of the apostle or more closely identified with his deepest trials.

II. THE APOSTLE'S WILLINGNESS TO ACCEPT THEIR GIFTS WAS EXCEPTIONAL IN ITS CHARACTER. While he refused to receive gifts from the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 11:9) and from the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 2:5; 2 Thessalonians 2:8) because he would not compromise his independence in the case of Churches which were only too ready to question his motives, he conferred on the Philippians the exceptional privilege of ministering to his wants. Once when he left Macedonia, and twice when he was in Thessalonica, they sent, "to relieve his want."

III. THIS WILLINGNESS DID NOT IMPLY THAT HE COVETED THEIR GIFTS. "Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that aboundeth to your account." He does seek to stimulate their generosity, but rather to increase that recompense which every fresh proof of their love would be sure to enhance.

IV. HIS ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF THEIR LATEST GIFTS BY EPAPHRODITUS. "I have all things and abound: I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God."

1. It was a thoughtful kindness to send him gifts while he was a prisoner at Rome. The Christians at Rome seem to have been lax in this duty. As he could not gain a living for himself in prison, he was the more dependent on outside generosity.

2. It was doubly pleasant to have the gifts from Philippi conveyed by one so faithful and so dear to the apostle as Epaphroditus.

3. The gifts in his eyes owed their chief value to their being acceptable in God's sight. - T.C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.

WEB: However you did well that you shared in my affliction.

Almsgiving a Part of Christian Life and Worship
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