October 20, 2022
OUR SWEET SMELLING SACRIFICE
How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me….Even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty. As you know, you Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help when I first brought you the Good News and then traveled on from Macedonia. No other church did this. Even when I was in Thessalonica you sent help more than once. I don’t say this because I want a gift from you. Rather, I want you to receive a reward for your kindness. At the moment I have all I need—and more! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God.
Philippians 4:10, 14-18 NLT
Paul pauses in this letter to express thanks for the financial gifts the believers have sent to him. In his giving thanks Paul states their gifts were “a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God.” When we give to support the work of God’s kingdom through God’s servants we are giving to God. Paul uses the word picture of the Old Testament act of bringing a sacrifice to the priest who would burn the sacrifice on the altar. The smoke from the altar got the attention of God who responded to the sacrifice of the people. We do not give to get but when we give, we get the attention of God. Our sacrificial giving becomes a “sweet-smelling sacrifice” to God. Paul was quick to tell them he was not saying these things to get an offering from them. He was not using manipulation as a tool for personal gain. He was not bragging on them to twist their arm for more money. He was encouraging them because their generosity had a tremendous impact on his life and the work of the kingdom. I believe God always responds to sacrificial giving. He notices when we give of our time, talent, and treasure. He responses to our hearts of giving by releasing blessing into our lives.
Holy Spirit help me to be a generous person. Help me to live a life of sacrificial giving.
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