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Paul The Fundraiser

October 19, 2020 - January 1, 2030

Fundraising Support YWAM Marine Reach

Paul The Fundraiser

Paul, The Fundraiser

We saw in the last blog post that the Apostle Paul sometimes supported himself financially by making tents, but that he did this primarily for pastoral reasons – to demonstrate something important in specific locations. Paul didn’t always do this though. There are a couple of occasions where Paul was quite happy to receive support from churches, and even to raise support for himself.
Let’s take a closer look!

Paul and the Philippian Church

Paul had a warm and loving relationship with the church in Philippi that is very much reflected in what he writes in the NT letter to the Philippians. One of his reasons for writing the epistle to the Philippians was to thank them for a gift they sent him. They’d heard that he was in prison, and sent a member of their church to take gifts to him in Rome. After telling them that he’s learned to be content in all situations, Paul writes in Philippians 4:14-16, “Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need.”
Remember, in Thessalonica, Paul worked as a tentmaker for pastoral reasons – to demonstrate to them that working with their hands and producing something good was a better way to live than how they were living (remember the pervasive “patron-client” culture in ancient Roman communities). We see here though, that he also received gifts from the church in Philippi. He was in need, and they helped out with the need.

Paul goes on in Philippians 4, “Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account.  I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

Here Paul demonstrates a little of his theology of generosity and giving. In a nutshell, Paul believed that giving to others was like planting seeds. You would reap a harvest for your generosity.

Paul Fundraising for Others

Paul wrote to the church in Corinth about a trip he would soon make to them for the express purpose of taking up a collection for the churches in Judea who were suffering from famine. He exhorted them, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work…Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8).

Paul believed that giving did not impoverish the giver. Indeed, he believed that both the giver and the receiver were enriched by generosity. Studying blessing in the Bible is a big task because it is woven throughout the entire scriptures, but you can kind of think of it this way – blessing is God’s power poured out to bring abundance or to make things work well.

A Christian “quid-pro-quo”?

I don’t think Paul was telling the Corinthian church to give in order to get blessed by God, as if it were some sort of quid pro quo. I think he was telling them to give without worrying that they themselves would run short. God wouldn’t let their giving end up impoverishing them. His blessing would abound to both the giver and receiver of generosity.

Made in the image of God Bible devotional

Paul and the Romans

Paul happily received support when it was given to him by churches and individuals (like Phoebe in Romans 16:1) whom he trusted, knowing that in giving, they were blessed themselves. But did Paul ever ask for support?

He did, or at least he said that he was going to. He wrote the book of Romans in preparation for his visit to the churches of that city. He planned to go on from there to Spain. In Romans 15:23-4 he wrote, “…since I have been longing for many years to visit you, I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to see you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while.” He gives them fair warning that he plans for them to help him on his way. The verb “propempo” is the same Greek word used for outfitting a ship with everything it needs for a voyage at sea. He’s not shy about telling them that that was his intention either. He knows he’s doing God’s work, he knows that he needs help to go to Spain, and he believes that it will be a blessing for the church in Rome to be involved by helping him with what he needs.


Those of us who rely on the support of others need to know those three things too:

  1. That we’re doing God’s work,
  2.  That we need help, and
  3.  That those who show generosity to us will themselves be blessed by doing so.


All scripture quotations are from the New International Version.

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October 19, 2020
January 1, 2030
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