Daily reading: 30 July
His mercy, forgiveness and peace.
I have been paid in full and have more than enough; I am fully satisfied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.
- Philippians 4:18 from full reading Philippians 4: 10-20 .
The Christians of Philippi were Paul’s first converts in Europe, when he sailed over from Troas in response to his vision of a man pleading ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us’.
Led by Lydia, the ‘dealer in purple cloth’, they were the only group who insisted on helping Paul to cover the costs of his widespread mission, and they also contributed generously to his fund to help the Christians in Jerusalem.
In this passage, probably written from prison in Ephesus, Paul is not only thanking them for their generosity but rejoicing that such open-handedness will result in God’s satisfying their every need. But do we only do good in order to gain God’s favour?
As followers of Jesus, inspired by his life and death and assured by his resurrection, we must surely give joyfully to those in need, be they missionaries, converts or those most critically in need of God’s love.
Such gifts, as Paul says following Hosea, are certainly ‘the sacrifices of which God approves’, for God desires mercy not sacrifice.
More than that, it is such loving generosity that will bring in the Kingdom – God’s reign of shalom, His mercy, forgiveness and peace.
Christian Aid makes it easy for us to give sacrificially.
It even makes it possible to do so if we are truly skint, giving our time and talents rather than goods or money.
Sponsored activities such as walking the Camino, cycling the Ring of Kerry, sky-diving, even packing groceries in the local supermarket, require only organisation – and the cheek to ask for sponsorship.
Check the Christian Aid A–Z of fundraising ideas for a myriad of possibilities.
God of mercy and love,
who calls us to love and serve in imitation of your Son,
help us always to be aware of those in need,
and give us the will, the strength and the generosity of heart to give sacrificially for their well-being.
Today’s contributor is Canon Ginnie Kennerley, editor of SEARCH – A Church of Ireland Journal, and former rector of Narraghmore and Castledermot in Glendalough diocese.
Published on 30 July 2020