Paul insisted that he wasn’t in “need” and could remain joyful and contented in all situations in life. This was true for him even through the many trials and hardships he’d experienced on his many journeys while preaching 25 well donethe Gospel of Christ. Even in prison Paul remained joyful and encouraged his readers to do so also. Yet, Paul was grateful that the Philippians supported him financially and thanked them. In Philippians 4:14 Paul says, “Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble.” Another translation says, “…you have done well that you shared in my distress.” Notice that those who supported Paul “shared” in the work. They had become partners in the ministry. I’m convinced that all those who participate in advancing the Gospel of God’s love for the world will receive the same reward. All players on the team get the championship ring!

I’ve been a full-time pastor since 1987. That means I’ve drawn a salary as a preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for 27 years. From 1980 to 1987 I preached about 20 times a year on average without recompense. While in Seminary I preached often at small churches around Dallas as often as I could. I first spoke publicly in 1979 a year after I became a Christian at 32 years of age. I was determined to preach the gospel with or without remuneration. I preached often on Sundays after unloading semi-trucks full of UPS boxes at the hub in Mesquite, Texas from 10 at night to 3 in the morning. Believe me; it’s much nicer to be on salary as a full-time pastor than it is to be a tent-making pastor. I know several of them and admire them greatly for their determination to preach the gospel with or without a salary. Paul knew what that was like and ended going back to tent-making while in Corinth for some time. It was the Philippians that sent him the financial gift that enabled him to go back into full time ministry. That’s why he calls them all “fellow workers” in the gospel.

It seems to me that the Corinthian believers were averse to supporting their preachers. That’s why Paul addresses the issue in his letter to them. In 1 Corinthians 9:14, he says, “Even so the LORD has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel” (I Cor. 9:14). Earlier, in his letter writing to the churches in Galatia he says, “Let him who is taught in the word share in all good things (finances) with him who teaches” (Gal. 6:6). Then again in his letter to Timothy he says, “Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. For the Scripture says, ‘You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.’ and ‘The laborer is worthy of his wages’” (I Tim. 5:17, 18). This is a unique verse in that it quotes both the Old Testament and the New Testament showing financial support is crucial for the work of the Lord. Paul says to those who support the ministry of the gospel, “you have done well.” He thanks you, and I thank you!