Our Generosity Brings Joy to Others
There is little doubt that the Philippians loved Paul (and that their affection was returned in full measure). After all, they had received from him the message of the gospel, which had changed their lives! But it wasn’t just affection that fueled their giving. They were all in for the spread of the gospel to other communities. They were committed to Paul’s work, and so they were his partners in that work. That’s likely how they saw themselves, as partners and supporters.
Every church has a culture, a defining set of characteristics that set it apart from other churches. This was as true in the first century as it is today. The church of Philippi was known for its generosity. What an awesome thing to be known for! No one under Paul’s ministry mantle gave like the Philippians.
What Paul received from the Philippians caused him to rejoice greatly (Phil. 4:10). Generosity has that effect; it brings joy to others. And that’s such a good and beautiful thing. In fact, the sharing of that joy is why we tell stories at Calvary Church about changed lives. The leaders of the church think it’s important for the people who give to the church to see, whether literally or through the word pictures we paint, the joy their spreading.
A few weeks ago, I stood in the dining hall that Calvary built in Mitaboni, Kenya thanks to one of our give-it-all-away Sundays. We gave every dime of one Sunday’s offering to the orphanage we support in Mitaboni. I helped serve the food and then walked outside surrounded by a sea of 40 happy kids to the playground donated by our local communities and installed by a team from Calvary. My wife and I, and the church intern who accompanied us on the trip, were literally covered in excited kids screaming with joy as we played. These kids don’t hesitate to climb aboard the nearest visiting adult!
Each of those kids is a life that has been changed because of the generosity of God’s people. Their caretakers express in words the same sentiments that Paul did. They share their joy and gratitude for what we have sent and what we have done. The kids don’t need words; they live out their joy for all to see.