Summary: Joyfuel. It’s like gasoline except it keeps the engine of your joy running high. Paul demonstrates how it works in Philippians 4:10-23
A Study In Philippians
“3 FACTORS THAT FUEL YOUR JOY”
This final group of verses in Paul’s letter is a resounding anthem to joy.
Each verse rings with the sound of celebration and overcoming.
Paul was a in a good place when he wrote this final passage of his letter.
He was full of joy and you can tell it by reading this section.
Why was Paul feeling so good when the situation he was in was so bad?
Under house arrest, uncertain about what the future held, how did Paul have this sense of personal victory over his circumstances instead of feeling like a victim?
There were 3 factors that Paul mentions in this passage that I want us to look at tonight.
Each factor was a piece of the pie that made up Paul’s joyful attitude.
These same factors work in our lives to determine whether we’ll be joyful or not.
Let’s look at each one.
1.THE GENEROSITY FACTOR: Joy comes from SHARING what I have. – Vs.10, 14 – 17
In this passage Paul describes the kind of generous treatment he received from the Christians in Philippi.
He opens up this section by saying that the reason he was rejoicing was because of a generous financial gift the Philippian Christians had sent by the hand of Epaphroditus.
What is generosity? Let’s define it. Generosity is sharing what I have. Giving what you have to others.
“…Generosity can be described very simply as changing one’s focus from self to others.” – Dr. John Maxwell, Today Matters
Paul says in verse 10:
“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 the opportunity.”
Paul uses the word ‘flourished’ which carries the idea of a flower or plant blossoming or budding.
The last time Paul had received any money for his ministry from the church at Philippi had been 10 years before.
There was a gap, a period of about 10 years, where the Philippian church was not actively supporting Paul financially.
However, recently Epaphroditus had brought to Paul a gift from the Philippian church.
This gift had given Paul a reason to celebrate and rejoice.
The giving toward Paul’s ministry from the Philippian church had dried up for a decade.
And now, all of a sudden, a flood of giving and generosity had opened up like a flower whose pedals are opening up and blossoming.
Why had the Philippians not given in 10 years to Paul’s ministry?
Paul says it was because they “…lacked the opportunity”.
What does that mean? Let me give you 3 possibilities:
1. They may have lacked the capacity.
You can’t give what you don’t have. They simply may not have had in their possession money to send to Paul.
2. They may have lacked the communications.
“‘At last you have renewed your concern’ is not a rebuke. Rather it shows that communications had resumed after a period of no contact when there had been “no opportunity to show” their concern for Paul.” – Walter Elwell, Evangelical Commentary on the Bible
3. They may have lacked the right mind-set.
“We remain much more interested in problem solving than in opportunity seeking. Very few people actually sit down to think about opportunities. If an opportunity stares us in the face then we might asses it, but this is not the same as actively seeking opportunities. This real lack of interest in opportunities results from two sources. Opportunity means risk, bother and hassle, and we do not like any of these. We have also adapted to the way things are and are content with the way things are. There is little motivation to change. Businesses are supposed to be out there seeking opportunities the whole time. In my experience this is not so. Businesses are more interested in creativity for solving problems than for finding opportunities.” – Dr. Edward DeBono, Teach Yourself To Think
Question to consider: Is my heart flourishing, opening up like a blossoming flower, in the grace of giving?
Generosity is a factor in our having or not having joy.
A panhandler asked a woman for money, and she dug in her purse and handed him a dollar bill. As she did, she admonished him, “I’ll give you a dollar—not because you deserve it but because it pleases me.”
“Thank you, ma’am,” he replied, “but while you’re at it, why not make it a ten and thoroughly enjoy yourself!”
“No one stands taller in the climb to success than when he bends over to help up someone else.” – Dr. John Maxwell, Today Matters
Which is why Jesus said “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Why is it more blessed? For one reason, it gives us joy.