Philippians 4:17
Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.

The word is of large significance. What a place it occupies in nature! Where is the work of husbandry, or the process of animal or vegetable life, in which this is not the one point of importance? What fruit is there? (James 5:7). What if it comes not? What if after all the husbandman's waiting and toil, every blossom is cut off by frost, and every ear of corn spoiled by blight or mildew? Will he be consoled by the reflection that the trees in the earlier spring were bright with every form of promise, or that the fields were once green with the springing blade, wet with abundant rain, or warm with glorious sunshine? The one thing for which he looked was fruit. All else was valuable only as a prognostication of fruit. If the hope was not realized, it was rather a mockery than a satisfaction. And this word fruit was transferred by the gospel to other and yet more important uses. Trace it through the Scriptures of the New Testament, through the discourses of our Lord and the writings of the apostles, and how grave and anxious are the questions it suggests for self-examination (Luke 3:8, 9; Matthew 7:20; Matthew 21:19, 43; Luke 13:7; John 15:2, Romans 6:22; James 3:17; Philippians 1:11). You see what God looks for; what is the one important question as concerns each of us; What fruit is there? In the great parable (Matthew 13:3-23) in which our Lord classified the hearers of His gospel in all ages, the one distinction between true and false profession is made to be this: not so much did a man listen, receive, or love the sound or entertain the demands of the gospel; but rather, Was there any fruit? The three evil hearers were alike in this — by this they were equally distinguishable from the good hearer — they brought no fruit to perfection; while he, in various degrees, but in reality, deed, and truth, was seen to produce fruit. Well, therefore, may a minister who understands the business of his high calling try himself and his ministry by this one criterion. Is there any fruit? Well may he as he stands before his people in the exercise of his important and responsible ministry address himself to them with all the earnestness of one pleading for his life, and say, I desire fruit that may abound to your account. He will not, indeed, mislead them as to the nature of the fruit for which he looks. He will never speak of it as though a few isolated acts of self-denial or charity were infallible marks of good. He will constantly remind them that only a heart right with God, a heart truly penitent and believing, can originate such acts as God will approve.

(Dean Vaughan.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.

WEB: Not that I seek for the gift, but I seek for the fruit that increases to your account.

Liberality to the Minister
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