Since this stage of our lives has mostly been revolved around raising support, the act of “giving” has been on my mind lately. As I’ve said before, when we first realized that we were going to have to fundraise to pursue the mission God set before us, the thought made us cringe a bit. The concept of fundraising can just have such a bad connotation to it, but we know that there is nothing innately wrong about it. So I’ve been contemplating about the idea of giving both from the missionary’s perspective and hopefully from your perspective as our supporters.
Firstly, all things belong to God. The reason we try to reach the lost with the Gospel is not so that they may become followers of us but because we are trying to bring back to Jesus what He rightfully owns. He purchased all people for Himself through his sacrifice, and we want both parties to rejoice in that restoration. Similarly, all money, talents, gifts, resources and everything else belong to Him.
We do our best to maintain the mindset that we are not asking people to give money to us and for our cause but to God and His cause for the world! The ministry you give to acts merely as a legate of God, to whom you are truly giving. Anything you could give belonged to Him in the first place, so you can rejoice in giving it back to where it truly belongs.
This idea appears in 1 Chronicles 29. I’ve recently read through this book and was particularly encouraged by this chapter. Throughout the story, David is trying to build a new temple for God where the Ark of the Covenant can reside. He gathers an abundant amount of resources from all over the land, and in combination with what the people were able to provide, they are able build it. In verses 14, David says, “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.” Earlier in verse 9, you see the people rejoice over their leaders giving willingly, freely, and wholeheartedly toward David’s project because they realize that they are giving back to the Lord. It also pleases David to see how earnestly the people are serving God through his mission to complete the temple.
Just like David, it makes us joyful when we see your commitment to support the mission God has given us because it gives us affirmation that this is how God wants to use us. If you are confident enough to entrust us with your gifts, then it must be God’s work at hand!
So we hope you find through giving to us (or any ministry really) as your own means of service to the Lord. By giving, you are an equal partner in serving that mission. The missionary, Paul, thanks the Philippian church for the aid they provided him. He says, “Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account,” (Philippians 4:17). We hope that everyone who does decide to support our ministry finds it as an opportunity to be credited with serving the Lord.
Another one of my favorite examples of giving in the Bible comes from the book of Nehemiah. Again, God gives his servant a desire to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. The passion he has for this vision consumes his thoughts so much that it shows in his face while he is at work as a cup-bearer for the king. The king notices the change in Nehemiah’s demeanor and inquires about it. Probably being moved by what Nehemiah has to say, the king willingly offers to support him in a variety of ways. The king not only gave him supplies to complete the task of building the wall, but he also made connections to people in authority so that he could successfully make the make the trip.
The king truly acted in accordance with Proverbs 3:27. Because it was within his power to do something about it, he did not withhold good from this man whom he thought deserved it. He had the power to help Nehemiah in several different ways, which goes to show that support can come in many forms.
In the context of making a sacrifice to God, Deuteronomy 16:17 says, “Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you.” So however God has blessed you (your resources, your talents, etc.), that’s the way you should give back to Him. If you aren’t able to give with your finances, then find a way you are able to! Several of our supporters don’t really have money they can commit to giving, but they sure are zealous prayer warriors! Not all people can honestly commit to praying for us on a regular basis, but they do have the resources to mail things for us or to send us care packages once we’re on the field. And as far as financial giving is concerned, we have quite a wide range of amounts we receive because people are only able to give in proportion to how God has blessed them. The best part about different types of support is that they are all equal in partnership, equal in service to God, and all equally needed!
We have had the privilege of being able to witness people’s earnest hearts in giving toward our mission just as Jesus got to witness the widow offer her gift to the temple treasury. Even though, by the world’s standards, her two copper coins were nothing in comparison to the large amounts of wealth that were put in, Jesus said that she put in more than the others because she didn’t give out of her wealth but rather out of her poverty – a true sacrifice (Mark 12:41-44).
We see the ways you have been able to give toward this mission to Japan, and it is beautifully different for each person. So just remember that in whatever way you choose to give to God that it’s not about equal giving but equal sacrifice.