Money and the Christian faith has such a cloudy relationship in the minds of most Christians in the modern western church. Don’t misunderstand what you just read. God and the Bible are very clear about finances. Throughout time and in the rest of the world, other Christians have had a healthy biblical understanding of finances. However, in the modern western church, we turned finances into a complicated topic.
Because money is such a powerful idol in the West, raising financial support for missions is such a murky topic in our churches. Contrary to popular misconception, it is God who controls all finances. Many Christians say God is sovereign and in control of everything, but their actions and attitudes toward money prove differently. Too often, missionaries, churches and congregants act like they have ultimate sway over who does and doesn’t make it to the mission field by their actions surrounding money. God controls every dollar, pound, franc and peso. If this is true, why do missionaries view raising financial support as such a hard task?
A missionary is not a super-Christian, simply an obedient Christian. Because of this, many missionaries enter missions with the same sinful attitudes the rest of us share about God and money. Missionaries view raising financial support not as a God-centered activity, but as a man-centered venture. Missionaries think the burden is on them to sell themselves and their ministry to individuals and churches who may or may not deem them worthy.
If God wants you on the mission field he will provide the means when he deems it appropriate. We have such a sinful attitude toward money and raising support, that potential missionaries avoid missions once they learn they have to raise their own finances. Missionaries are scared to ask people for support and then feel too beholden to supporters when they receive it. We too seldom even bring God into the equation.
Do a web search for “God and finances” and the articles that pop up have titles like, “Trusting God With Your Finances,” “God and Your Money,” and “10 Ways God Works Through Our Finances.” Dear gentle reader, let me be crass for a moment to provide a little clarity…YOU DON’T HAVE ANY MONEY!!! Our view of God and finances in the western world is unhealthy and unbiblical. We too often act like we earned our money and it is ours. God is the owner of all money and he has seen fit to make us temporary stewards over a small part of it.
Give wildly to God and his ministries. Go crazy with God’s money. Spend the money you have, but spend it on God’s glory, not your own comfort and security. Do not view God blessing you with money as some sort of reward for your loyalty to him or some kind of blessing to be lavished on yourself. God put you through school, provided your job and gave you opportunities so you could more easily fund his ministries in your town and around the world. When we give our wealth and financial blessing back to God we experience his glory. If we have a perspective that says, “I just can’t afford to tithe or support missions,” we have already placed our own comfort ahead of God’s glory.
God has made the Christian church which exists in the western world today the richest most financially blessed church in the history of the world. He did not do that so we could have softer cushions on our pews, but so we could finance the global spread of his gospel. Do you believe your church needs a more expensive building, new carpet or another secretary while the missionaries you’ve partnered with are struggling to pay for new Bibles, translated books or shoes for their own kids?
God’s Great Commission is a mandate given to the corporate church to spread his gospel around the world. Yes, you are called to reach the heathen in Iowa, or Tennessee, or Illinois. Yes, the people in your town will go to the same hell as the people in the jungles of Zimbabwe, Laos, and Colombia. However, the people in your town are not more deserving of the gospel than the people around the globe. Please continue to reach the people in the town you have been called to minister, but never forget God has mandated you to participate in his global march toward the end of days. The Great Commission is not optional.
When we act like man controls all the money, missions seems impossible. When we acknowledge God controls all the money, missions seems much easier. Too many missionaries act like raising support is a hard task, because too many Christian disciples take God out of finances. When God is in control of finances things like an economic downturn, a local factory shutting down or a rich family leaving a church are far less relevant. When Christian disciples are focused on God controlling all finances, God will receive greater glory, and no Christian will ever again say, “Raising finances for missions is hard.”