"Not that I seek the gift..."
Text: Philippians 4:17
NOT SOLICITING FOR FUNDS
The Apostle Paul made sure that he would not be misunderstood when he wrote to the Philippians to thank them. He was not soliciting for more funds from them!
“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.”
1. “Not that I seek the gift”
a) This was an important disclaimer that had to be carefully stated.
b) Paul was not asking for more funds from the Philippians!
c) He knew that the Philippians would understand but still he felt that he should make it clear how he felt to prevent misunderstanding.
2. “But I seek the fruit that abounds to your account”
a) The gifts that the Philippians sent represented “fruit”.
b) The Philippians were abounding in fruitfulness.
c) The word “abounding” was also a commercial metaphor.
d) The account of the Philippians was “abounding”.
3. Paul’s reflection on the support he received from the Philippians
a) He felt that he received “full support” (“I am full”).
b) There was continuing effect (Paul used the Greek perfect tense to good effect. Greek “pepleromai”).
c) Indeed he felt that he was abounding.
d) The Philippians had sent “more than sufficient things”.
4. Paul’s appreciation of the gifts sent by the Philippians through Epaphroditus
a) He compared it to the burnt offerings the children of Israel would give to God.
b) “Sweet smelling aroma” is a reference to “burnt offerings” (Genesis 8:21).
c) Their gift was truly “an acceptable sacrifice”.
d) Their gift was “well pleasing to God”.
This was the kind of fellowship that Paul enjoyed with the Philippians. It was healthy and wholesome. It reflected a maturity of faith and relationship. Paul’s labour of love in Philippi had borne great and significant fruit!