My home seems to get its fair share of door to door solicitors. We know they are at the front door as our two dogs bark at the intensity and pitch of a 300-dog kennel. I liken this to having cold water thrown in your face at 2AM. Anyways, when I finally get to the door, it does not take very long before I am asked to part with my money.
One such solicitor represented, what I believe to be, a worthy cause. Because I believe in what they are doing I usually give a little something. This same organization seems to come back to my door once every 3 months. Each time they do, I give to their cause.
As I opened my wallet to give a few dollars from my billfold, the man at the door said, “Mr. Moulton, thank you for your partnership.” I remember thinking to myself, ‘This is hardly a partnership.’ Candidly speaking, what was happening was very much transactional. This does not mean that I did not find the cause to be noble, even worthy. It was! I just did not pay too much attention to the cause with the exception of the good reminder and visual of the person standing at my door. This may be all too familiar to many of those who attend your Sunday services two times per month.
The Apostle Paul in Philippians 4 spoke of the difference between partners and consumers. Verses 14-15 lets us in on the fact that the Philippian church partnered with Paul in his gospel ministry. They partnered with him in many ways, including meeting his financial needs.
Not only did the Philippian church partner with Paul. They did so right after he left the church of Philippi to plant in Thessalonica. In other words, Paul is saying “You have been partnering with me since the beginning and continue to partner with me all these years later.” How cool is that?
Yet he contrasts this with what I call the “consumer mentality” as he says, “When I left Macedonia, no other churches entered into partnership with me. You were the only one!” So, verse 15 gives us a sneak peek in that many churches/Christians were enjoying the benefits of Paul’s teaching and his care for the congregation yet not assuming the responsibility of giving.
I think this quote from Tony Merida says it beautifully:
“How common this is in local congregations receiving benefits but giving nothing in return. When a person is receiving sound instruction, which leads to life and godliness and when a person is receiving pastoral care, they have the privilege and the responsibility of giving to support the mission of the church. “
Partnership is not just about the Benjamins; however, we can’t carry out the mission of gospel ministry with only pats on the back. We need our congregations to partner in the gospel. All Christians are commanded to partner with the church. Remind your church about what God’s word says as it pertains to stewardship. In doing so, you will likely move some from consumers to partners.
Pulling for you!