The Power of Partnership
by Tom Brown
And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.—Phil 4:19
This passage is one of the most misused promises in the Bible. Everyone claims it, but few understand the true application of this promise. It is found only in the Epistle to the Philippians. Paul never repeats this promise to any other church. There is good reason why Paul could make this great claim of financial provision to this church, and only this church—this church was his lone Partner. Back up a moment and let us see what led Paul to make this promise.
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; (Phil 4:15)
Did you catch what Paul said? Not one church shared except you only. Paul had only one church as his partner in the ministry. That is sad. Paul had founded many churches, but only this church gave to him. And the amazing thing was that Paul did not even start this church; Epaphroditus founded it. Yet, this church had a heart to give and regularly support Paul’s ministry. Paul continues:
for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need. (Phil 4:16)
If Paul was in Thessalonica, who should have met Paul’s need? The church of Thessalonica, of course, should have met his need, yet, Paul exclaims that the church in Phillipi met the need. I think you have begun to see the bigger picture. Paul goes on:
Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. I have received full payment and even more; 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. (Phil 4:17-18)
This church not only supported Paul, but they supported him generously. He rejoices, "I am amply supplied." He had plenty. So what benefit did the church receive in being Paul’s partners? Paul looks over their account and says that God has credited it. They had placed a deposit in their account in heaven. The language is similar to Jesus’ statement that when we give we lay up treasures in heaven. Heaven is not simply the place where we go when we die, but it is the resource that supports us in this life. Now you can appreciate the statement, "And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus."
How will God meet their needs? According to his glorious riches. Or as the King James puts it: "According to his riches in glory." The riches are in glory. Glory is the heavenly realms. Paul was saying that God will meet their needs according to the riches that they have laid up in heaven. God will take their own gifts, which now belong to God, and use them to meet their own needs. His Riches were the gifts the church gave to Paul. Wow!
What is in your Account?
This brings us to an important question: what is in your account? You claim that God will meet your needs according to His riches in glory, but do you have riches stored up in glory. Have you become a partner to a minister who is preaching the gospel? If you have, then you can claim this promise as your own, but if you haven’t, then you do not qualify for this promise.
You lay up riches in glory through partnering with someone in the ministry.
So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. (Philemon 1:17)
A partner is a person who has made a deep commitment to another so they both share in each other’s needs and blessings. Paul told Philemon, his partner, I will take your debt as my own.
If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. (Philemon 1:18)
A partner’s best description is found in the relationship of a husband and wife. "She is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant" (Mal 2:14). Again, the Scriptures say, "Treat them [your wives] with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you"(1 Pet 3:7). A husband and wife are in covenant with each other, which means they take on each other’s debts and assets.
Partners are also found in the church. When members of a church tithe to their pastor, they become partners with them. Also, when people join in prayers and in gifts to a minister, they become partners with them.
Benefits of Partnership
Let’s face it: not everyone can travel around the world and preach the gospel. Not everyone can pastor churches. But everyone can receive the rewards that accompany those acts. How, you ask? Through partnership. Let me explain.
King David and his men had lost their wives, children and valuables to a raiding party called the Amalekites. David sought the Lord, and the Lord told him to go and attack the Amalekites and get back what they stole from them. So David rallied 600 men and they took off in pursuit of this band of nomads. However, on their way to the battle, 200 men became too exhausted to cross the ravine. David continued to pursue with the rest of the men. Eventually David and his men won the battle.
When they arrived home, the 400 soldiers refused to give the 200 men any share in the plunder. And so David, through the inspiration of the Spirit, said, "No, my brothers, you must not do that with what the LORD has given us. He has protected us and handed over to us the forces that came against us. Who will listen to what you say? The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle. All will share alike." (1 Sam 30:23-24)
To emphasize this to future generations, the Bible says, "David made this a statute and ordinance for Israel from that day to this" (v. 25). The statute was: "All will share alike." Those who fight and those who stay home will share the same reward. This was a statute. A statute is immovable. The word "statute" is where we get our other word "statue." There are statues built in honor of various heroes. You see them in the capital of states. Have you ever seen a statue move? Never do they move, because they are statues. The point I am making is that this rule of "all will share alike" cannot be changed. It is an immovable ordinance.
Many city ordinances are suspended or modified, but not this ordinance. This ordinance is divine and will apply to all generations. Now take this truth and apply it to the ministry: Those who go into the entire world to preach the gospel and those who stay home to support them "will share alike." Praise God!
Kenneth Copeland has preached around the world, but before he entered the ministry, he first was a flight pilot for Oral Roberts. He would also help him with his healing crusades. Often he would simply hold his coat while Oral Roberts prayed for the sick. Copeland was feeling useless while doing this. He wanted to lay hands on the sick and preach like Roberts was doing. While holding his coat during a service, the Lord spoke to him, "Kenneth, if all I call you to do is hold Oral Roberts coat for the rest of your life, then you will receive the same reward I give Oral Roberts."
This statement is totally biblical. If you obey the call of God to serve a man or woman of God and aid them in preaching the gospel, then you will receive their rewards.
Who should you partner with?
Obviously there are many wonderful preachers doing the work of God, so who do you support? You can only support the ones that the Lord leads you to. Galatians chapter six lays out the principles for choosing the ministers you should support.
Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor. (Gal 6:6)
Notice that this passage applies to everyone, for Paul starts off by saying, "Anyone." You cannot exempt yourself from this passage. He then says that if you receive instruction in the word, you must share all good things with your instructor. The word must gives no wiggle room to make excuses. If you are taught, you have an obligation to give. It is that simple!
Yet people often make excuses why they do not have to give. Some people always look for free teaching, but never want to help the teacher. Someone might say, "Yeah, but the gospel is free!" Yes, the gospel is free in the same way that oil is free, but it is costly to build the pipes to pump the oil to us. The gospel is free but the preaching of the gospel is costly. How can the gospel be preached without cost? It can’t.
As Paul said, "And how can they preach unless they are sent?" (Rom 10:15). Preachers must be sent in the same way that a government sends its soldiers. Soldiers must be paid and equipped to fight. The minister must be equipped with instruments to preach. He needs buildings, literature, media, transportation, housing, and the Internet, etc. Those cost money, and so who will support him? That is where you come in. You cannot expect a minister to pay out of his own money those things. "Who serves as a soldier at his own expense?" (1 Cor 9:7). So you should support the ones that are teaching you the Word! That should include your pastor of course. It will also include those ministers that are truly feeding you the bread of life.
Reap what you Sow
Not only will you receive eternal rewards for helping a minister, but there are earthly rewards as well. Paul continues his words to Galatia:
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Gal 6:7-9)
Paul reminds them of a basic fact of nature: you reap what you sow. This applies to giving to the teachers. What you give to the teachers are seeds that you sow for your own harvest. You will receive blessings in this life. This is what Paul meant when he said, "My God will meet all your needs." He was referring to earthly needs. God will take care of your earthly needs because you have taken care of people’s eternal needs by helping the preachers save the lost through the preaching of the gospel.
Do you want to prosper in life? Then you must give what you want to reap. If you want money then you must give money. If you want friends, then you must be friendly. You will reap what you sow. Some people still argue over this truth.
John Avanzani was teaching along this line when a man marched angrily to him after the service. He barked, "Brother John, what you preached is not true. I had a godly mother who was the biggest giver that I ever knew. Yet she died broke. How can you say that if you give God will prosper you?"
John answered back, "Well, I did not say, ‘A man reaps what he sows.’ God said it!" Then Avanzani listened to the Lord and he felt impressed to ask the man this question, "Did your mother faithfully tithe to her church?"
The man stared back with a blank expression, "Well, to tell you the truth, my mother didn’t believe in giving to the church. She would rather give directly to people."
"What did she give to people?"
"She always cooked meals for the sick and brought them to their homes. She loved to make blankets and give them as gifts. She must have given nearly a hundred blankets away. She was a giver like I told you! Yet she was broke!"
John answered, "Without knowing your mother’s situation, I would guess that many people made meals for your mother and gave her many blankets."
The man was shocked, "How did you know? That is exactly right! After she died, we had to find people to give away the many blankets that people around the world gave her."
John said, "God said a man reaps what he sows. Your mother reaped exactly what she gave. She did not believe in giving money, so she did not reap money, but she reaped what she sowed."
I need you!
You might be thinking, "Pastor Brown, I want to reap money too!" I do not blame you. So you will have to give money, if you expect money to come back to you.
You obviously came to this Internet site because you were searching for Christian teaching, and you found it. Best of all, it was free. And you found lots of teaching, didn’t you?
Most Christian sites simply advertise their church or ministry and perhaps try to sell a book or two. But most do not give many free teachings. We do, because we want to change lives around the world. This Internet site reaches over three-quarters of a million people a year, and it is growing at an enormous pace. We receive some orders for our products, but the vast majority of people simply enjoy the free teaching we provide.
Recently, I felt led of the Lord, to make available the opportunity for you to make an investment in this ministry. Have you enjoyed the teaching on this site? Many people tell me that my teaching is their favorite, yet few respond to become partners. If you have been taught the Word through our ministry, then you have a scriptural obligation to become partners with us. I know I am bold in saying that, but it is true. As Paul wrote:
If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? If others have this right of support from you, shouldn't we have it all the more?... (1 Cor 9:11-12)
I am asking you to become a partner in the ministry with me. Let me tell you some of the wonderful opportunities I have right now: For instance I receive a thousand invitations a year to preach, I have books I want to publish, and have new things I want to do on this Internet site. But the only thing keeping me from accepting more invitations, from publishing more books and adding new features to this site is a lack of money. This is why I need your help. Would you prayerful consider becoming my partner in ministry?
If you would like to help, then let me tell you what you can do and what I will do for you too. I am looking for partners to do one of three things:
Give a weekly gift. If you give every week, then I will send you every Sunday’s message that I deliver at my church.
Give a monthly gift. If you give every month, then I will send you the best teaching of the month.
Give a one-time gift. If you give a one-time gift, I will send you the best recent teaching that I did.
The best way to give is to simply fill out the form below and place your gift on your credit card. Depending on your choice we will use your credit card and place your gift every Sunday, or on the first Sunday of the month, or simply put a one-time gift on your card. It is your choice. You can of course give through the mail.
You can cancel your partnership at any time.
Join with me right now and receive the blessing of partnership. I will be able to say to you what Paul said to the Philippians, "And my God will meet all your needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus!"
I look forward to hearing from you! Let us release the power of partnership.
If you desire to donate by mail simply send a check or money order to:
Tom Brown Ministries
P.O. Box 27275
El Paso, TX 79926
We accept credit card donations by phone
All donations are tax deductible