Generous Giving

Read: Philippians 4:14-19

A fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. (v. 18)

In this season, there are many prompts to be generous. Many churches hold special collections for ministries or missions, and it’s also the time when food pantries collect a majority of their donations for the year. But Paul encourages us to be generous no matter what our circumstances or the time of year.

The Macedonians were poor; they themselves could have used aid. But they gave generously to support Paul. Why? They had learned to hold onto material goods loosely because their ultimate security was found in Christ. Their generosity was one of the things that most endeared them to Paul because it was a sign of their love for the gospel. Paul is clear that it wasn’t the size of the Philippians’ gift that was important but the spirit with which they gave. This is why Paul describes their gifts as “a fragrant offering . . . pleasing to God.” The Philippians gave because they were passionate about spreading the gospel by funding Paul’s ministry. Their generosity reflected their priorities.

The Bible is full of examples of people who give seemingly big gifts but do it for the wrong reasons, such as to impress others, or even to impress God. While attention-seeking generosity may fool us, God sees the heart. Take time today to reassess your finances. Does your giving really reflect your gratitude to God?

As you pray, ask the Lord to show you how to use the good things he’s given you to glorify him.

About the Author

Jane Olson is a college counselor and high school teacher. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and children.

This entry is part 14 of 15 in the series Habits of a Thankful Heart