A group of California firefighters were waiting to pay for groceries when they received an emergency call. They immediately left the store and their grocery cart to respond. When they returned, a stranger had paid for their groceries and left a note. It said, “Thank you firefighters for all you do. An Air Force wife.” She expressed her appreciation for the people who sacrifice their personal safety on behalf of others.
Paul just finished thanking the Philippians for the generosity they have shown. They had shared with him financially and emotionally, supporting him throughout his ministry career. Here, he reminded them that we all have access to this type of generosity from God.
This verse is a favorite for many: “My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (v. 19). It is comforting to lean on this promise, knowing we have an all-powerful God of abundant riches. But why doesn’t God supply everyone’s needs? If this verse is true, why does poverty exist?
The final phrase of this verse is critical to understanding the text. God is not saying He operates like a cash machine. The riches of His glory are not only material; God’s riches include joy, peace, love, harmony, faithfulness—all qualities we’ve seen described throughout our study of this letter this month. These are the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus, who is the ultimate gift of God to meet our need of salvation from sin and relationship with God.
When we ask God to meet our needs, we must trust He knows how this will be done. It may not fulfill our expressed desires, but will be done according to the riches He alone can give.