16 Even when I was in Thessalonica you sent help more than once. – Philippians 4:16
Charles Swindoll tells the story of the giving tree: “When the boy was young he swung from the tree’s branches, ate her apples, and slept in her shade…But as he grew up he spent less and less time with the tree. ‘Come on, let’s play,’ said the tree. But the young man was only interested in money. ‘Then take all my apples and sell them,’ said the tree. The man did, and the tree was happy. He didn’t return for a long time, but the tree smiled when he passed by one day. ‘Come on, let’s play!’ But the man, older and tired of the world, wanted to get away from it all. ‘Cut me down. Take my trunk, make a boat, then you can sail away,’ said the tree. The man did, and the tree was happy. Many seasons passed – and the tree waited. Finally the man returned, too old to play, or pursue riches, or sail the seas. ‘I have a pretty good stump left. Sit down here and rest,’ said the tree. The man did, and the tree was happy.” Swindoll continues: “I stared into the fire, reviewing my life as I grew older with the tree and the boy. I identified with both – and it hurt. How many giving trees have there been? How many people have given themselves so I might grow, accomplish my goals, and find wholeness and satisfaction? Thank you, Lord, for each one. That night I crawled into bed. I had wept, now I was smiling. ‘Good night, Lord.’ I was a humble man. Thankful I’d taken time to reflect.” Paul remembered those who helped him – and so should you.
Soul food: 1 Kings 3-5; Matt 16:13-28; Ps 33:13-22; Prov 5:15-20