TRUE ALMSGIVING (Phil.
"Always in every prayer of
mine for you all, making request also with joy." Paul
prayed with joy for the Philippians because they were known for
their excellent almsgiving.
". . .for your fellowship in
furtherance of the Gospel from the first day even until now. .
." The Philippians have not concentrated in preaching in
their cities alone; but helped Paul everywhere he went. They
helped Paul in the spread of the Gospel from the first time they
heard it until "now". And their help for Paul came
when ". . .all Asia turned away from me. . .Demas betrayed me.
. .At my first defense no one took my part." The
Philippians shared, constantly sending men to Paul, helping him and
leaving out nothing that he needed. And they did not do this
once or twice; but always, in every way assisting Paul in the work
Paul's fellowship with the
Philippians was in the furtherance of the Gospel. For he who
preachest and he who waiteth on the preacher shares the same crown;
just as the crown is shared by the athlete with the trainer, the
attendant and all who prepared the athlete. Also, in war, not
only the generals but the entire army partake of the glory.
But the greatest crowns go to the saints and those who wait on
saints. . .for their crown is eternal life.
Suppose someone gives up great
possessions for God, continually devotes himself to God, practices
great virtues and observes great asceticism, you can do this
too. But if you are less zealous and less generous, how can
you acquire the same glorious crown? Help him in the work of
If you admire those living in the
desert, practicing the angelic life, and are unable to imitate them,
you can still share with them their reward in another way by waiting
on them and aiding them in their quest for holiness.
This is God's loving kindness -- to
give the less zealous and those who fear the hard, rugged and
strict way of life to be in rank with others. Share your
worldly things with the saints and they will share their eternal
crown with you. God is the example; He gives us heaven
for the little or worthless things we give, like a cup of cold
water. And so the saints, God's servants, will also give great
spiritual blessings in exchange for little material
If you cannot fast or be a hermit
or sleep on the ground or pray all night, you can still gain the
same reward by merely ministering to them and lightening the pains
of these works. They stand, fight and take the blows.
You wait on them after the combat and wipe off their sweat and
refresh them. He who ministers to the saints with such
readiness shall be partakers of their rewards.
"Being confident of these very
things, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until
the day of Jesus Christ." A constant reminder to humility
in that whether you are a hero or an aide, your good work is begun
by Christ. . .not by us. Your good works are primarily
God's. Our role is to draw God's grace to us. Christian
good works cannot be a work of man. It needs a divine
". . .may your love abound yet
more and more. . ." for there is no satiety in God. When
one loves, he gives himself no point when to stop. Paul
desires that love is an act of owing: "Owe no one
anything save to love one another." The measure of
Christian love is that it stops nowhere. It must abound more
and more ". . .in knowledge and discernment." You
must know why you are loving; for those who do not know why they are
loving, weak friendships are established. Also, your love must
have discernment, i.e. you should not love all the same way.
To do so is want of feeling and shows the absence of
". . .that you may choose the
things that are excellent. . ." i.e. the things that are
profitable to the soul. If your love has no knowledge and
discernment, eventually, in the name of love, you will accept
spurious or erroneous doctrines.
"Being filled with the fruits
of righteousness. . .holding together with true doctrine and an
upright life. . . ." There is a kind of righteousness not
of Christ; it is merely of man. And man's righteousness
indirectly injures you by hindering your perception of things
The Philippians were perfect in
their Christian almsgiving; their almsgiving have the three elements
that make up true Christian almsgiving: Firstly, they were
always ready to help with all that they had. Secondly, when
they gave, they believed that they were instead receiving. St.
J. Chrysostom states: "You must not give unless you are
convinced that you are receiving rather than giving and gaining a
thousand fold for the little that you give." And,
thirdly, they must be grateful to him that receives. If one of
these elements is absent, St. J. Chrysostom suggests: "Let him
not give for, to him, his almsgiving is a loss."
St. John Chrysostom, "On Phil."