“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.”
Paul now described his attitude about the Philippian gift toward his ministry.
“your care for me has flourished again”
Paul alluded to the gift brought by Epaphroditus earlier in Philippians (1:5, 7; 2:30). Now he formally thanked them for their generosity.
Whenever the Philippians saw that Paul needed financial support, they came through like a verdant garden lush with flowering blossoms. Paul received their gift like a wife who gets a bouquet of flowers from her husband. The word “flourished” means revive, sprout, blossom. Their appreciation for the gospel motivated them to give sacrificially. They knew Paul’s sacrifice in bringing the gospel to them. They gladly, frequently, and generously contributed to the ministry of the apostle. Whenever possible, they blossomed in their financial support of Paul.
The local church has a definite responsibility for the support of missionaries. Some churches leave their missionaries without support on foreign fields because of a split. What a tragedy!
“though you surely did care”
The Philippians continually supported Paul:
“Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God [grace is the motivation for giving] bestowed on the churches of Macedonia [Philippi was in Macedonia]: that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality [out of abject poverty they gave abundantly to the cause of Christ]. For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing [no pressure was put upon them to give], imploring us with much urgency [they were passionate about their giving] that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.” (2 Cor. 8:1-4)
“but you lacked opportunity”
They could not find Paul to gift him with an offering. He did not want to leave the impression that they forgot him. They did not know where he was or could not find a way to deliver the money to him. The Philippian church always supported Paul, as long as they knew where he was. They considered him their agent for the cause of Christ throughout the world.
Behind great missionary projects is a frame of mind.
Thought precedes action. All spiritual action is based on an attitude. The attitude of love is the basis of the dissemination of the gospel. It is a concern for people in other parts of the world. God wants us to love the agents who bring the gospel (“How beautiful are the feet of them who preach the gospel”). God wants us to have a personal interest in missionaries of our local church sent to uttermost parts of the world.
Do you seek opportunities to support agents of the gospel? Do you reluctantly give to the cause of Christ? Do you have an attitude of supporting missionaries whenever you can?