Saturday, May 28, 2016

Should Missionaries Ask for Financial Support?

(This old post of mine encourages me today. I hope it encourages you also.)

Having raised financial support for the last 18 years it comes as a surprise to me when otherwise strong Christians question the legitimacy of missionaries raising financial support.

As America faces more and more if its own problems, I believe it is essential that missionaries continue to put God's heart for all the nations front in center in all the recruiting and support raising they do. Support raising isn't about raising money, it is about raising a team of like-minded people who are passionate for the all the nations to be reached.

1 Corinthians 9:13-14 says,“Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.”

Paul’s epistle to the Romans was a support letter. Check out Romans 15:22-29. He was writing them that they might glory in the gospel and share in his zeal for taking this same message onward to Spain. He needed teammates! Note a couple of key phrases… “to be helped on my journey there by you”, and “I will leave for Spain by way of you”.
Here Paul is not even asking, he is expecting support to come from gospel-centered Christians. He is expecting that the believers will want to help reach their neighboring country with the gospel.

3 John 1:5-8 says “Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth."

For those who do not see missionaries asking for financial support in the Bible – the prophet Elijah even asked a poor woman for support - for food and water in 1 Kings 17. God wanted to test her faith. I think he also wants missionaries to ask for support in order to test the hearts of His people. Do we love money or do we love the mission of the gospel?

In Nehemiah 2 Nehemiah prays and then asks the king for support to go on a mission to rebuild Jerusalem. He knew that God could even use even a foreign king to further God's kingdom.

As a missionary I know that I cannot do it alone. I am not a "superman of the faith" while other Christians can just easily go to the company and expect money. We all work by faith. Just like everyone else I am also called to WORK through faith in order to build a team of people (from the rest of the body) with a like heart to build the kingdom of God, to reach the nations and make disciples in them, just as Christ commanded each and every disciple to do. Teaching and preaching are the means we use.

We do not expect fish to jump into the boat. We put down nets and God brings the fish. In the same way, we missionaries (with great humility) call for the teamwork of the other members of the body who have the same calling from their Lord. We cannot do this alone, nor are we meant to. We are simple sheep just like the rest. The apostle John (who was also a missionary) tells us that we are to support such people who go out for the sake of the Name. He probably learned this from Jesus while walking with Him for three years. Jesus and the twelve, including John, were also supported by the women who followed Jesus. (Luke 8:1-3) How humbling!

Let us not be slack in our calling as senders or goers. Let us not be slack in our calling to send or slack in our efforts to call forth senders and goers! While some missionaries today do go out without asking for any support, this is in no way commanded or even recommended in the pages of Scripture. We must be very careful concerning our Biblical understanding of this all important work.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wonderful article