“Not that I seek out the gift, but I seek out the fruit which abounds to your reckoning.”
Here is the difference between Paul and the prosperity ministers of every age. Both receive the gift of the faithful gladly, but Paul is clear that seeking out the gift is not his intention; the prosperity ministers of todays age and every age are blatant in their seeking of the gift. Paul accepts the gift not because it will bring him comfort, but that he can use the gift to further the Gospel. The ministers of the prosperity gospel do seek their own comfort and revel in it. In receiving the gift, Paul is essentially giving it away for the building up of the kingdom; prosperity ministers keep the gift…to borrow the language of Jude, they are shepherds who only feed themselves (Jude 12).
But how is there a reckoning that is applied to us? Do we really earn merit from God? Not in the sense that you are likely thinking, we do not. Surely the most we can apply to ourselves is that we are unworthy servants (Luke 17:10). At the same time, being faithful with what you have and using it for the kingdom is a mark of a true believer (Matthew 25:40). Further, those who are faithful with the small things that are entrusted to them in this life will be given more responsibility (in this life — Matthew 25:21; Luke 16:10). Thus, the reckoning is that this church has been faithful in the work to which has been given to them not only in Philippi but also in the broader ministry of Paul the Apostle (and perhaps even others!). And the honor due their faithfulness will not be taken from them.
The question remains as to what motivates and drives each of us. Do we earn and gather money and gifts for our own comfort or to build the kingdom? Do we look inwardly and seek comfort or do we look outwardly and sacrifice the things of comfort for the spread of the Gospel? The latter is not an option for us if we are Christians. The bottom line is that God has called us to a task and that task is not one of personal comfort. Plus, why should we settle for the comforts of this fallen world? Of what account are they in comparison to the glories of heaven?