In the beginning of the letter of Philippians, Paul thanks God for the saints in Philippi, and in particular for their “partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” Paul is thankful that the church of Philippi has partnered with him in order to advance the gospel to the nations (The Great Commission). Their partnership probably included a multitude of things but we can narrow it down to prayer and financial giving.
When I was going through seminary, my wife and I were able to pray for particular missionaries that our church had partnered with, but we found it difficult to give directly to that cause. We had been giving joyfully a portion of our income to our local church, but we wanted to come up with a plan to give directly to brothers and sisters on the ground that were doing the hard work of advancing the gospel in difficult places.
We were limited in income and I was limited in time, working part-time ministry and doing full-time school. However, I had a background in landscape design and installation and was fairly handy with doing odd jobs. With that background, I was able to take small landscaping jobs that I could start and complete on Friday’s and Saturday’s in order to bring in income that could go directly to the Lottie Moon offering. I was able to find some other random jobs to give to this effort as well. This extra income was not to make ends meet or to start a savings account or to get the best new product on the market. The goal for doing these jobs was so that I could directly partner with others to advance the gospel to the nations.
The exciting thing about this was that I was able to help some other college students from my church to think outside the box in how they could also take odd jobs to join in on this partnership in the gospel. A few guys helped me do the landscaping jobs, others started picking up extra shifts and over time to give directly to the gospel. Some picked up house sitting and pet sitting jobs to partner in the gospel. By God’s grace in the year of 2016, 30 college students gave over $10,000 to the Lottie Moon offering. This offering is what I prefer to give money to because it goes directly to the men and women on the ground doing the difficult work of advancing the gospel in difficult places.