Do Missionaries Deserve Our Support?


35 And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38 therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

Matthew 9:37 (ESV)

I was doing some research today and ran across a startling quote from missiologist Ralph Winter. It was related to the support and funding of missionaries. The context was that Dr. Winter and his research fellows had crunched the numbers and tablulated that about 40,000 qualified missionaries were NOT serving on the fields that they believed God was calling them to because they could not raise the funds necessary to support their efforts. Here’s the quote:

“An estimated 40,000 potential missionaries are currently kept off the mission field by the difficulty of raising adequate prayer and financial support. Meanwhile, Americans spend more on pet food than they do in bringing light to people in darkness.”

This is not an anti-pet rant. It is question about priorities. Whatever our pets are they are OURS. They are about our likes and dislikes, about our comforts and companionship, our joys in a very temporal life. And I think there is a case to be made about how our pets help us to cope with the pain of life so that we are more useful to people around us. Nevertheless, the contrast highlighted in the Ralph Winter quote above is startling.

Let’s ask some difficult questions.

  1. Are we willing to compromise our own comfort to reach the lost?
  2. Are we willing to live on less so that more might live (eternally)?
  3. Are we willing to rexamine all of our involvments, commitments, expeditures, under the light of gospel imperatives so that all of those things would be “a praise to His glorious grace”? (cf. Ephesians 1:6, 12)
  4. Are we willing to change our behavior to better reflect that we are not our own?
    (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

If these are uncomfortable questions, let’s not run from them. Let us run to our closets to pray and ask God to give us a heart to say yes to everyone of them and then take the practical steps we need to make each of them a reality.

Because we are not our own; we have been bought and paid for by the precious blood of Christ who is our soon and coming King. And the answer to the question that titles this post is, emphatically YES!

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