Partnership is Not Patronage (part 2)

The loyalty that the Philippians showed to Paul and the gospel ministry was manifest in their gifts (Philippians 4:14-18). This was a way of sharing in the struggle, work, poverty, and sacrifice. It was true partnership, not patronage. I said yesterday that patronage is another word for customer in many ways. It is also used of a wealthy person who pays the expenses of an artist so they can focus on their craft instead of having to work for a living. In the same we can’t act like customers of the church, we must also be careful not to act like patrons. Giving is an essential act of worship, and even a spiritual gift (Romans 12:8), but churches need to be careful that they don’t bend to wishes of big donors. Patrons of the church are like patrons of the arts, they rarely participate in the struggle to create something. God has graciously gifted believers to accomplish his will regardless of the size of their bank accounts. If everyone just gives in proportion to their income, and as an act of worship, then all reasonable needs would be met. God has a perfect track record when it comes to funding his projects.

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