17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.
18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus
the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell,
a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.
Have you ever been in a position where you go to a church and an evangelist was just asking for money to fill their own pockets? We have seen a little bit of that in the church in this modern day haven’t we? We have to be careful about giving to ministries that we are not real familiar with. It might even cause us to question the missionaries that our church supports. Maybe we have an evangelist and we’re a little leery about giving the evangelist any of our hard-earned money.
They did not have to worry about that with Paul. He wasn’t asking for their support because he needed the money. He was asking for their support so that they could be fruitful. Paul new the concept of sowing and reaping. He knew that if they gave more would be given to them. And he wanted the church to be blessed. This was always his top priority.
We all work hard for our money. So, we want to be real careful where we give it. The best gauge of how a ministry is doing is the fruit that they bring in. Our church supports a missionary in Mexico who is doing unbelievable work for the ministry. He’s raising up pastors and he has an orphanage where he has children learning Christian ways. He even receives mercy and grace from the drug cartels because of the wonderful work he’s doing in the area. He’s definitely worth putting my money behind. It’s important that we give to ministries that are producing fruit.
Paul said he had plenty. Epaphroditus brought the offering that the Philippians sent and it really blessed Paul. He said it was an acceptable sacrifice and well pleasing to God. Wouldn’t you like to hear that about your offering? I would admonish you to look at the ministries that you’re supporting right now. If they’re producing fruit that’s great – stick with them. If they’re not, perhaps you should look for a different ministry to support. I know that’s a hard thing to say but we want to be like the people of Philippi and give an acceptable offering that’s well pleasing to God.