CONFRONTING OUR REALITIES – II
Do you not know that God entrusted you with that money… to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to help the stranger, the widow, the fatherless; and indeed, as far as it will go, to relieve the wants of all mankind? How can you, how dare you, defraud the Lord by applying it to any other purpose? (John Wesley)
It was highlighted in the last edition that the three prongs of missions, namely; GOING, GROANING and GIVING are indispensable and inextricably symbiotic. It is not possible to sincerely engage in any of these without first having the burden to see a change in the present deteriorating conditions of missions and missionaries. The big challenge is; how sincerely burdened this generation of believers is for this all-important kingdom agenda.
Another reality that the Body of Christ needs to confront is the continuous systematic deprivation of missions and missionaries with requisite resources needed for sustainable missions reach.Nehemiah realized that the task ahead would be impossible without adequate support and sufficient access to material resources. He then requested for a letter from the king that would be given to Asaph, the keeper of the king’s forest, “that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the fortress of the temple, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall occupy.” And the king granted the request. (Neh. 2:8)
The Godhead remains our perfect model of missions.He clearly demonstrates that there can be no missions without giving. Missions started with the giving of the only begotten Son of God who laid down His life willingly that we may not perish (John 3:16). It can only be sustained by giving in all its ramifications. That is,the sacrificial release and dispatch of human, financial and material resources to mission fields.
God created and owns every resource on earth in all of its fullness (Ps. 24:1) from which man makes wealth. The symboliccattle on a thousand hills (Ps. 50:11) are only a little fraction of it. In His sovereignty, He chooses to distribute them to men and women as He deems fit, believers and unbelievers alike (Matt. 5:45). You then wonder how on earth the unbeliever uses the same wealth to fight against Him like Saul of Tarsus or execute rebellious agenda in kind.
The thought being shared here is not about why God would do that. It is about why He gives believers the power to make wealth. Paul unfolded it in I Cor. 9:11 -12: “You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us [missionaries in this case] will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.” This is the purpose of the resources at the disposal of the believer! It is therefore not about ownership on our part, but stewardship of those resources for which we are accountable to the Owner – God.
Missions communities need decent water, educational facilities, health care assistance and church buildings. Missionaries need upkeep support, funding for children’s education and means of mobility to navigate the unbearable rural terrains and road network. These can only be met when believers give sincerely and sacrificially. Missions and missionaries need our support and not sabotage.
Unfortunately, it is not only the likes of Sanballat, Tobiah and the Arabs in the days of Nehemiah, but many Christian individuals, families, and church leaders, that are sabotaging God’s agenda in missions today. You are either supporting or sabotaging missions with your action or inaction. It is time to confront this reality. Where do you stand?
Pst. Isaiah Okanlawon