When support is not forthcoming

self-support in missionsWhen the apostle Paul had help from congregations, he worked what we call full-time in preaching the gospel. When he didn’t, he put his hand to making tents to provide for his needs. See what happened in Corinth.

After this Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth. There he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to depart from Rome. Paul approached them, and because he worked at the same trade, he stayed with them and worked with them (for they were tentmakers by trade). He addressed both Jews and Greeks in the synagogue every Sabbath, attempting to persuade them. Now when Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul became wholly absorbed with proclaiming the word, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. Acts 18:1-5 NET

The text seems to indicate that when Silas and Timothy arrived, they may well have brought with them help from Philippi (see chaps. 1 and 4 of that letter). Then Paul “became wholly absorbed with proclaming the word.” That probably means he “devoted himself exclusively to preaching” (NIV) since he no longer needed to take time out to personally earn his living.

Paul went on his journey expecting to have to work with his hands while he preached. He never once thought that he couldn’t embark on a missionary tour nor that he’d have to return to Antioch because he didn’t have the funds. Continue reading