Summary: In the same way God supplied the needs of the Philippian Church, he promises to do so for local Churches today and for each one of us personally as His individual children.
My God Shall Supply All Your Needs
Memorizing Scripture has been a meaningful spiritual discipline for me. One of the first Scriptures that I memorized was the promise Paul shares with us in our text this morning, Philippians 4:19, and I want to quote it from the New King James Version, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” It was an easy one to learn, for it was one of my Mother’s favorites that she often quoted.
Today I want us to stand on this promise both as individual disciples of Jesus and collectively as Trinity United Methodist. Now we know that in English the pronoun you can be either singular or plural, and in the English translation of our text it is difficult to tell which it is, but in the Greek New Testament it is evident the plural form is the one used. That is not surprising, for Paul is writing this letter to the entire Church at Philippi, not to a single individual.
However, I am convinced that we can claim the promise both as individuals and collectively as a local Church. Why is that possible? It is because God is concerned about each one of us as His individual children. At the same time we need to apply this promise to our entire Church family, because Paul was addressing His letter to the entire Church at Philippi. The point is obvious, in the same way God supplied the needs of the Philippian Church, He promises to do so for Trinity United Methodist Church in Kankakee, Illinois, in 2007, and He will do the same for David Reynolds, Lucy James, Nino, Ann Crews, Dick and Gwen Maddox, and each and every one of us.
God will always meet the needs of His Churches and every one of His children who remain good stewards of all He has entrusted to them. The Philippian Church can teach us some valuable lessons in being good stewards of all God has given us.
Philippians is Paul’s letter of joy. The noun joy appears six times and the verb rejoice eight times in modern translations of this short epistle. Paul had many reasons to rejoice over the Philippian Church, but his reason in the setting of our text this morning was their generosity in financially supporting His ministry.
The Philippian Church was the only Church to give monetary support to Paul’s ministry after he left the Greek State of Macedonia of which Philippi was the capital.
Paul begins this section of his letter by recounting the history and giving of the Philippian Church in support of his ministry. He reminds them in verse 15: “. . . when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only.” In verse 16 he adds: “. . . for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need.”
Paul knew what it was to be in need, and he promises the Philippian Church, “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” We must always remember there is a big difference between our wants and our needs. A need is something is that is absolutely essential, something that is indispensable, something that you and I must have in order to live. Food and water, shelter, clothing, and transportation are things we all need in life. They are absolutely essential and indispensable. We must have them in order to survive.
A want is something I would like to have, something I may wish or long for, something that I find desirable, but it is not something that I must absolutely have. I can live without having all my wants supplied, but all my needs must be met.
Some personal examples quickly come to my mind. I had a friend when I was growing up who was a year ahead of me in school. He had some well to do grandparents that doted over him every Christmas. We must have been ten and nine respectfully when they gave him his own portable television set.
Of course I thought I had to have one too, but I never got my own portable television until I graduated from seminary and had my first Church. That portable television was only a want. I survived perfectly well without it all those years, and I am learning more and more that I can survive well even today with little or no TV. Currently I would enjoy having a motor cycle or a jet ski, but I’ll survive without them. God does not promise to supply all our wants, but He does promise to supply all our needs.