Thursday, June 18, 2015

More Than A Gift

Philippians 4:14 KJV
Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.

Sometimes the smallest little phrases can carry a huge amount of instruction.

Paul had expressed his contentedness. He was not in any spiritual way distressed over his circumstances. God's hand upon him, in times of great supply and in times of great want, was all he really sought. However, after expressing this contentedness, he did commend the Philippians for, as he puts it, communicating "with my affliction." He was not spiritually distressed but there was no question that he was physically suffering.  Gill put it, "...he was in prison and penury".

The believers in Philippi had reached out to do something about that affliction:
·       They sympathized and cared
·       They sent Epaphroditus to minister to him and
·       They sent with him things that could be a help in comforting him

Notice how Paul phrases this, "ye did communicate with me affliction." They did more than just giving to Paul. They became sharers in the affliction. They took it on as their own.

This can be illustrated by considering the family of a missionary who is captured on a foreign land.[1] Those who hear of it
·       may become highly interested in the details about it; they
·       may think it is too bad and they
·       may pray for the one who is captured
But the family of that missionary shares in the affliction. Though it is a different sort of suffering than the missionary is experiencing, they suffer nonetheless. They suffer
·       with the missionary
·       at the same time as the missionary and
·       for the same reason as the missionary

Paul says of the Philippians that they had well done in not only communicating to him but with him.[2]

[1] Something we frequently hear of, even in our time.
[2] This lesson may be applied not only to communicating with another’s affliction but with their vision, with their calling and with their ministry. Some may give to a ministry; it is so much more helpful when the join with that ministry.

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