“Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account” (Phil. 4:17).
How the Apostle Paul rejoiced on behalf of the Church at Philippi in their labors of love! This faithful church in their love for Paul and the message of Grace more than once had come to the Apostle’s aid. They participated in his sufferings and necessities in sending him financial relief. At Macedonia, their giving advanced the work of the Lord in the furtherance of the Gospel of the Grace of God (v. 15). At Thessalonica, their sending of a timely offering enabled Paul to flee Thessalonica and seek refuge at Berea (v. 16 cf. Acts 17:1-10).
This is what prompted Paul to say, “Not because I desire a gift.” Paul was not greedy or seeking personal gain, but he desired fruit that might abound to their account. The word fruit is used in the Scriptures to denote results or that which is produced. To quote one author by way of example, “We speak of ‘Punishment as the fruit of sin,’ ‘Poverty as the fruit of idleness,’ and ‘Happiness as the fruit of a virtuous life.’” Here we see sin produces punishment; idleness produces poverty; and a virtuous life produces happiness, so in the case of the Philippian believers, faithfulness produces reward.
The Apostle Paul rejoiced for them in their acts of kindness and faithfulness in service for Christ. The Apostle desired that their acts of kindness in providing for his needs might be put to their account, that at the Judgment Seat of Christ, they might be richly rewarded and reap the benefits of their fruitfulness. Would the great Apostle be able to commend our Grace Churches of the present as he did the Church at Philippi? Are we standing in the defense and confirmation of the Gospel as they did?
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.