Author: Ron Graham
In this study, we consider the fourth element of spiritual wellbeing, namely generous sharing.
Philippians 4:15. One of the few instances of any hint of criticism and dissatisfaction in Paul's letter to Philippi, is his remark, "No church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only" (Philippians 4:15). There should be no lack of sharing and giving.
Giving and receiving are the cause of joy —especially the giving. Jesus once said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35).
Philippians 2:17. The reason that giving and sharing is not in evidence as it ought to be, is simple enough. Sharing (or fellowship) is a matter of sacrifice and service. It is not popular to make sacrifices for others or to be the servant of others. Paul, however, had no problem applying himself in sacrifice and service.
People have mixed feelings about making sacrifices for others or being the servant of others. Paul, however, had no problem applying himself in sacrifice and service. "I am being poured out on the sacrifice and service of your faith" (Philippians 2:17).
Philippians 2:7. Although sacrifice in sharing is a concept alien to some people, it is essential to the attainment of true joy. Jesus manifested the spirit of sacrifice and service. "He emptied himself and took the form of a servant... became obedient to the point of death" (Philippians 2:7).
The writer to the Hebrews points out that Jesus did this to achieve joy: "For the joy set before him he endured the cross" (Hebrews 12:2).
Philippians 3:10. The spirit of generous sharing is the spirit of the crucified Christ. Paul recognizes this when he states his aim, "That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings" (Philippians 3:10).
Philippians 4:17. The reason that sharing, sacrifice, and service produce joy is that they produce fruit. Paul says, concerning the gifts given to him, "Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account" (Philippians 4:17).
When we see the fruit of our sharing, we are glad that we shared. Fruitful giving is a key to happy living. One of life's paradoxes is that when we lose what we have by sharing it, only then do we really gain from it.