“Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account.”
“Not that I seek the gift”
Paul here defended himself against slanderous gossip.
“Seek” is the word for intense desire. It deals with motive. Paul, at the point of writing this epistle, was not subtly hinting for another gift. He was not in quest of further financial help. He had already said that he “can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (v. 13). “I am not dependent upon you folks. I depend on the Lord. I will talk to my Father; He will take care of me.”
Instead of rebuking the Philippians for their giving (v. 14), Paul enlarged the scope of his appreciation for their gift. He was not hinting at more financial support. (v. 11)
“but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account”
The word “but” is strong contrast. The goal was not to receive support for himself but the growth of the giver. Giving develops Christian character.
“Fruit” was the payment that the gift would bring the donors and put to their credit. The fruit was more than the gift itself.
“Abounds” was used in the money markets in Paul’s day for accumulation of interest. The word “accumulating” may be a good translation for “abounds.” This word is a business or commercial term. The word is in the present tense—this fruit was currently accumulating to their account.
This is the blessing that experiences in rich development of character (John 15:16). The Philippians had interest accruing to their account. This was the result of their growth in character. Periodically their account gained interest. It accumulated dividends and would be paid at some time in the future.
“To your account”: God placed this payment to the account of the Philippians. This account grew with each fresh demonstration of love. It is a good spiritual business investment where the accumulation of interest grows.
It was not so much the gift but the giving that gave pleasure to the heart of Paul. God could have used any number of means to bring him support. He used a raven to feed Elijah. His real interest is in the spiritual fruit that comes to the lives of those who exercise giving. When they give, they put an investment in the credit side of the ledger. In effect, he was saying, “I am bent on the development of your generosity. The Divine Accountant will keep good records of your account. He will say, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant.’” What a difference from some methods of fundraising today! Paul was saying, “I am glad to get your gift—not for what it does for me, but for what it does for you. I want fruit to abound to your account.”
Every Christian has a character account.
Either our character account grows or decreases. It does not remain static. The capacity for grace is a great benefit for the Christian.
God keeps good books. He is the Great Accountant. He never loses a figure. Our banks have our account down to the dime. We may not know how much we have in the bank, but they do. God knows exactly what our account looks like. He knows how much surplus we have. He knows how much we owe. God is keeping an account of what we give to Him.
Have you examined your books lately? Has the spirit of grace worked into your soul? Has your spirit gained what the Lord Jesus said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive”?