Is Missionary Support Raising just a fancier form of “Begging” like the poor beggars that you see on a street corner? Or is it an eternal investment?
I needed to sort through this, maybe you do too.
Let’s define our terms.
The negative picture or presupposed story of a beggar. Beggars are likely addicted to drugs and alcohol and act irresponsibly with their lives and family. They don’t pay their bills. They don’t work at getting and keeping and working hard at a normal job. They may be in the situation of many bad choices they made that has led them to be where they are at now. We presuppose in our minds (and in many cases they may be true) that the beggar does not want to work. The beggar only wants to live from what other people work for. The beggar gets handouts from people but only spends it on more temporary pleasures like drugs and alcohol that only hurt the person more. The thought is that the beggar only wants to “take” and not “give” back to his community by giving a service or providing a product that could help his community. I understand this might not be true of every poor person, this is just the negative presupposition that we often attach to poor beggars.
The Missionary has taken to heart Jesus’ command to go and make disciples of Jesus in all the nations. The missionary sacrifices comforts. He is willing to lay his life down so others can gain eternal life. He lays aside pride to be scorned by outsiders to boldly preach. The missionary preaches the Bible, the good news of salvation through faith in the grace given through Jesus and following up with repenting from sins. The missionary is willing to work hard to help and support other missionaries who are more gifted at teaching and preaching. If the missionary didn’t have to worry about getting an income from a job like being a shopkeeper, then he could focus more on sharing the gospel with others rather than keeping his shop. That is what the apostle Paul did in Acts 18:1-5. He worked for his income making tents and preached the gospel on the weekend. But when he had financial support brought to him from Macedonia, he then took to preaching the gospel daily. See 2 Cor 11:9 too. Paul did not want to burden his audience, who he wanted to preach the gospel to, by charging them to pay for his gospel preaching. He made tents for his own income, but when he received support from elsewhere, he then preached daily instead of making tents.
A missionary that travels to foreign countries-languages-and cultures must learn that language and culture. He has to translate the bible, teach the bible, teach them how to read for themselves, assists in starting a new church and making disciples. Such a missionary takes a certain degree of dedication. It takes a high degree of training. It takes a high degree of support from sending churches and individuals. It takes support workers who will assist that missionary in whatever needs he has to see the job done until the last tribe hears.
There are many needs or jobs done that can assist the missionary, or missionary team I should say, to complete their tasks.
One such small need is financial support. What if instead of having to make tents for five days a week like Paul did, what if he had enough financial support from other believers that the missionary could be solely focused on getting the missionary task done?
For some situations there is no other source of income available other than support from other believers. Such as going into a remote jungle tribe of a new language and culture. Now what about the people that work in assisting that missionary team? Such as those who train new people to become missionary workers. Or those who need to process financial donations that need to come in every day for the missionary team? Should the donation processor have a regular Monday-Friday job to pay for their own income and then only process donations just on the weekend for the other missionaries? What if the donation processor had enough support himself to work daily to relieve the jungle tribal missionaries of that daily responsibility?
To some this might seem like the missionary has become a beggar. That he has to live off of other people’s income.
To others it is an investment. A chance to speed forward the advance of the gospel. Its urgent too because the nations are waiting and dying without knowledge of the only Savior. But honestly there is no other option. The advance of the gospel to all the last language groups that have not heard yet would not happen unless the local churches, the believers in Christ would make it a personal responsibility to invest in missionaries doing their work. To enable them to have whatever they need to get the job of world evangelism done. So that every tribe, every nation, every language, every person has a chance to hear the gospel and accept or reject it.
The beggar and the missionary have this in common, they both have needs. They need money, food, shelter, and more.
The beggar likely may only be begging out of greed. Only for selfish gratification.
The missionary needs support from other believers but for the sake of others to have the chance to hear and obey the gospel. The missionary works for the eternal benefit of others. More so the missionary is being obedient to his Lord Jesus in making disciples, in spreading the knowledge of God’s goodness so God will be more praised and glorified by people throughout the world.
Those who choose to support missionaries have the caught the vision. Their heart breaks too for others who haven’t heard of Jesus yet. Their vision leads them to action to pray for and financially support or give whatever help that these missionaries need so that all may hear the message of the gospel.
This is what has happened to Jodi and I. We see that there are thousands of languages still to be reached with the gospel. We have come to see the effectiveness of Ethnos360 as an organization to train missionaries, to send them, to continue to work with them to make disciples of all the nations. We wish to do our part well in assisting these cross-cultural missionaries. We have been invited to help maintain the main office for this mission. It is a need. One part of the puzzle of world evangelization. We are praying for others to stand with us, to support us too so we can do our part well. This is why we offer the opportunity to you to stand with us to help see a thriving church for every people.
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