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5. Care for Others

 

But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity... Nevertheless you have done well that you shared in my distress. Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. (Philippians 4:10;14-18)
 

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Caring for others gets our mind off of self. There is joy and fulfillment in helping others and knowing we are serving our Lord in this. Caring for others teaches us to let go of self and the vain things in this world that have no lasting value. Peace of mind is the outcome.

 

Spiritual Connections in Giving 
 
A spiritual connection to Christ: Paul said he rejoiced in the Lord for the care he received from them. There is a connection between the Lord and giving. When we give we become as Christ - the One who gave the most precious gift of Himself. Everything we have physically and spiritually is because of Him. He "emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Php 2:7-8) Through Jesus, we learn to empty ourselves and fill ourselves up again with love.  
 
A spiritual connection to the one in need: The receiver looks beyond the physical help - he/she is encouraged with the love that is displayed in the gift. The money, food, help, friendship etc. uplifts the broken spirit
 
A spiritual connection to God - giving is a spiritual sacrifice offered to God in which He is well pleased.  

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Giving Comes in Many Forms
 
Let's count the ways we can give to others:
 
But 1 love your enemies, 2 do good, and 3 lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore 4 be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. 5 Judge not, and you shall not be judged. 6 Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. 7 Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 8 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you." (Luke 6:35-38) 

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Empty self.
Give yourself to the Lord.
A genuine care for others will follow.
Peace and happiness will be the outcome. 
 
And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God. (2 Corinthians 8:5)    

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"The Wise Woman's Stone" 
 
A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman.

"I've been thinking," he said, "I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone."  

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“You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.”   

"Once and Again"
 
"For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities." The Philippians were not "weary in well doing." There are some people, through no fault of their own, need to be helped several times, or even on-going. It may or may not be due to financial difficulty, but perhaps their bad health or emotional circumstance is causing ongoing problems. Rather than it turning into "compassion fatigue," the Philippians understood the need for continual support.

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Benefit to giver: "Fruit abounds to your account." "God shall supply all your needs." The fulfillment of our needs may not be as we expect it -  God knows the real needs of our lives and not one true need will He ultimately leave unsatisfied.

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GIVE 

Live, and thou shalt receive. Give thoughts of cheer,
Of courage and success, to friend and stranger.
And from a thousand sources, far and near,
Strength will be sent thee in thy hour of danger.

Give words of comfort, of defence, and hope,
To mortals crushed by sorrow and by error.
And though thy feet through shadowy paths may grope,
Thou shalt not walk in loneliness or terror.

Give of thy gold, though small thy portion be.
Gold rusts and shrivels in the hand that keeps it.
It grows in one that opens wide and free.
Who sows his harvest is the one who reaps it.

Give of thy love, nor wait to know the worth
Of what thou lovest; and ask no returning.
And wheresoe'er thy pathway leads on earth,
There thou shalt find the lamp of love-light burning.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox 

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Glory in Giving

(But, whose glory?) 

Read this familiar passage but, this time, pay attention to what I've highlighted. Giving is an amazing spiritual act, but who should get the glory? Is giving something we should boast in or is it something we should praise God, in that we have the ability to give and that, through Christ, we learned to give? 

"For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have. For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack--that there may be equality. As it is written, "HE WHO GATHERED MUCH HAD NOTHING LEFT OVER, AND HE WHO GATHERED LITTLE HAD NO LACK." But thanks be to God who puts the same earnest care for you into the heart of Titus. For he not only accepted the exhortation, but being more diligent, he went to you of his own accord. And we have sent with him the brother whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches, and not only that, but who was also chosen by the churches to travel with us with this gift, which is administered by us to the glory of the Lord Himself and to show your ready mind, avoiding this: that anyone should blame us in this lavish gift which is administered by us." (2Co 8:12-20)

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"Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the Law of Christ."

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August 2017