The generous heart of the Philippian church was seen on numerous occasions as we’ve seen. Paul not only received this gift while in Rome but he remembers their support from the very beginning. On Paul’s second 27 mission mindedmissionary journey he had traveled from Philippi to Thessalonica. Paul reminds them that from the very beginning of the church in Philippi they had supported him in the ministry. He reminds them of this in Philippians 4:16 when he says, “Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again.” There was more than one installment of support from them as soon as he left them to minister at another location.

I expect that there were other churches that contributed to Paul’s ministry while he was in their area ministering specifically to them in that area. Even the Corinthians tried to help Paul financially while he was ministering to them but because of harsh criticism from others he refused to accept their help. Because of their “carnality” Paul said to them, in II Corinthians 11:8-9, “I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you (the Corinthians, a wealthy church, by the way). And when I was present with you, and in need, I was a burden to no one, for what I lacked the brethren who came from Macedonia (the Philippians) supplied. And in everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and so I will keep myself.” Obviously, the Philippian church was “mission” minded. They were passionate about the spread of the gospel all around the world not just in their neighborhood.

Most churches are willing to help those who are ministering among them, but to find a church that will support those who leave to minister elsewhere is indeed rare and wonderful. You might remember that Paul fled for his life from Philippi and traveled on foot about 90 miles south to Thessalonica. I can just imagine his relief and sense of gratitude when he received their contribution after his arrival! Richison observes here that “Wealth does not make a giver. The Thessalonican church was wealthy but did not meet Paul’s financial needs. The city of Thessalonica was larger and wealthier than Philippi.” Every Christian worker knows the joys of receiving substantial support. It’s wonderful to find those who realize that even missionaries and pastor have a stomach as well as a soul. We often find those who will pray for us, but the Philippians prayed for him and supported him financially.