Thanks and Giving
by Jonathan Hamilton
Philippians 4:17 implies that when we support the work of the Lord in this age, we receive a share of the rewards for the things the Lord accomplishes through that work. (And by the way, 2 John teaches us the opposite principle: when we encourage false teachers in their work, we buy shares of that mutual fund. We need to guard our support and encouragement jealously.)
Here, Paul tells the Philippians regarding their recent generous financial gift to his ministry,
“Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.”
I believe the New Testament demonstrates that the work of the Lord in this age is centered in the local church. So my primary giving is in and to and through my local church. I think it’s also appropriate to give something additional to the work of the church universal – in other words, supporting ministries that make an impact on other local churches around the world besides my own.
A biblically faithful seminary is one kind of ministry that meets that criteria. The seminary that I attend, Central Seminary of Plymouth, Minnesota, has trained hundreds of pastors and ministry leaders for faithful New Testament local church ministry since the mid-20th century. Each year Central takes part in a fundraiser hosted by an organization called GiveMN. This year’s event, “Give to the MAX Day” is November 17.
As we are able, Steph and I try to give something to this fundraiser each year to show our gratitude for the ways in which the Lord is using Central Seminary and its staff and supporters to shape our ministry, and ultimately, our hearts. The vast majority of our giving goes to our local church, as it should. But a little bit above and beyond our usual giving goes to Central Seminary. We want to show gratitude, and we also want a share in the good work that Central is doing for the Lord around the globe.
If you do not already have a category of giving to support the increase and strengthening of local churches other than your own, I’d ask you to consider a gift to Central Seminary this year. Of course, you are not obligated to give. It is purely a matter of your own judgment and giving priorities.
And for what it’s worth, I give wholehearted approval to Central Seminary as a biblically faithful New Testament ministry that is worthy of the support of the Lord’s people for the building of His church.