Beta Group: New generosity
I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need. Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Greet all the saints in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me send greetings. All the saints send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar's household.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
"Renewed concern" at last. Paul has finally heard from the Philippian church? Epaphroditus turned up with news and a gift.
Philippi was a generous church from the beginning, how materially wealthy were they? Especially compared to Thessalonica. Paul wants their generosity known, so that they get credit. I think this is partly a "Look, my kids are all grown up! Look at them go!" Paul had a hand in their faith from the start, and their generosity comes from that.
Gifts, plural. How many gifts, and of what? Who fed a man under house arrest? Who clothed him? I doubt the Roman government would cover all the costs, it may have been Paul was totally reliant on gifts. He was under arrest for multiple years too.
Paul was stoned, flogged, shipwrecked, beaten many times, and he says he is content in all circumstances. Content. What would that look like? When did Paul have plenty? Probably before he went to Damascus. He had education, and was a priest, one of the elite.
Some of this letter is Paul reacting to the fact of someone caring enough about him to send gifts and friends, to remember him. I saw that last night, when Bene Diction warned me about possibly unpleasant emails from JesusJournal.com after removing this site from their directory. I wouldn't have known if he hadn't said. Someone I have never met, in a different country, looking out for me. That feels good. Paul appreciated it too.
Christianity and Blogdom are about community, meeting strangers, making friends, helping each other. Another person I only know from her blog (hi Denise!) suggested where I can find the "conservative sandals" I can wear to work. Random connections, sharing information, changing lives perhaps.