Taking Note of Gifts – Philippians 2:13

While playing worship at church the other day the pastor mentioned a verse during his sermon gave new life to an old idea. The verse resides in Philippians chapter 2. If you are reading from the New International Version the verses read like this:

12Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

There are multiple verses listed here, however, the one which struck me is verse 13—listed in italics. It is important to read a bit more than just verse 13 and give a bit of context. (Click here to read my thoughts of this importance.) Philippians is Paul’s epistle to the church of Philippi. Thus when speaking Paul is speaking to that audience and to their needs as the church or the body of Christ. The wrong view of that last statement is that it reads, “the historical context of the book Philippians implies that it merely applies to history.” Moreover this entire sentence is a concluding thought indicated by the beginning word of the passage “therefore.” Paul in the previous passage has discussed imitating Christ. (verses 1-11) Hence Paul is reaffirming and encouraging the Philippians as the body of Christ.

All that aside verse 13 reads as follows, “for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” Almost immediately after hearing this verse it occurred that any musical gifting I possess is simply what it is, a gift. That is to say a gifting—of any sort, but in my case specifically a gifting of music—is exactly what the term indicates a gift from one to another. This concept is what struck me personally, but the whole of the verse expands far beyond this personal example. Once realizing the truth of this it becomes clear that gifts should be treated as such. Consider the following example:

A friend give’s another friend a substantial gift, such as a car or a house. All of a sudden the receiving friend has gained a free item.

In this example let’s suppose the gift carries far more monetary weight than zero dollars—that supposition is only in place to give the example worldly substance. Upon acceptance of the gift the receiver would not only gain a gift, but the responsibilities that go with it.  That is to say possessing that gift would entail new duties for receiver. There are many unique paths the receiver could take after possessing the gift.  It is important to note that the paths chosen could be for the better or for the worse. For instance an example of a path for the worse is one in which the receiver simply takes the gift for granted and is not concerned with it in the least with it. However, the path I intend for that gift is of care, acknowledgement, and new responsibilities. The above example is fairly straight forward, but to see everything in this light is what struck me.  Everything is a gift; anywhere from what we “own,” the skills of our hands, to the breath in our lungs. It is all a gift.

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