Sunday, September 18th - Giving to Global Missions - Why and How?

Money... The thing that makes the world go 'round, yet we don't want to talk about it. No, the world doesn't revolve around money, but I would argue that most people alive today believe that it does. We all know first hand that money is required to have a place to live, to put food on the table, and to put clothes on our backs. So, it makes sense that a lot of people become very guarded when it comes to money - in spending it, sharing it, and even talking about it.

This past Sunday, Pastor Scott delivered an awesome message on the topic of giving towards global missions. We've discussed in previous weeks that there are different ways to contribute to the global mission of the church, but this week we will look specifically at giving financially, answering the questions "why" and "how" we should give towards missions. 
Why Should I Give to Missions? 

1. It is Reactionary
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." - James 1:17

First and foremost, our giving should be a reaction to the blessings God has given to us. I think an initial rebuttal to this statement would be "but God hasn't blessed me that much!" It's true, not everyone makes the same amount of money, we don't all have the same size house, etc...BUT we have been blessed by God. We live in a country where even a minimum wage job makes us richer than a large portion of people on the planet. Hundreds of millions of people live on less than $2 per day. I doubt that is something many of us can directly relate to!

The point is - as a blood bought believer in Christ, you should be able to look at your life and see the goodness of God. This goodness should generate a desire to give back. To what capacity you are able to give is entirely between you and the Lord, but the amount should not be zero.

Another great point that Scott made on this was a clarification on the falsehoods of prosperity Gospel. Too many churches today are preaching a message that looks like this:

You give to God → God gives to You

This promotes a lifestyle contrary to Scripture, in which believers give to the church in hopes that God will make them rich. This is simply untrue! Let's turn that equation around:

God has given ALL → You give back to God

God, in His love and mercy, has offered the most priceless gift we could never deserve - forgiveness. From that gift, we should be moved to gratitude and generosity, seeking out opportunities to give back to God and to further His Kingdom.

If you simply don't feel the gratitude or don't feel a desire to give, the question arises: have you forgotten how good God is?

2. It Brings Eternal Focus
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." - Matthew 6:19-21

We live in a time period where we are bombarded daily by all the new shiny products - the latest fashion, the next best vehicle, the amazing new technology...most of which comes with an absurd price tag. Guess what has happened to all the "brand new" stuff from, say, 5 years ago? It's all outdated, obsolete, and probably in a land fill somewhere. The "glamor" of this world is fleeting. No material possession can escape destruction.

The beauty presented in this verse should cause a radical shift in our focus when it comes to where we find value. If we are storing up heavenly treasures, they will be waiting for us in Heaven where we will spend all eternity. Hopefully your mind didn't go straight to being welcomed into Heaven by a huge pile of gold and precious stones... If so, I have to say, you're missing the whole point here!

It is hard to go through our daily life and not focus on the material things in front of us. It's natural to want nice things, to provide for our loved ones, and to be able to enjoy life. However, if our focus is only on those things, we will quickly find ourselves overwhelmed with stress, anxiety and possibly greed. If we find our value in our material possessions, what happens to our joy when the economy takes a hit? Or when an emergency depletes our saving account? Or any number of events that can instantly remove those material possessions from our life? We will be devastated.

However, if we listen to Scripture and shift our focus to heavenly things, then we will realize those material possessions do not dictate our value or our joy. There are plenty of joyful poor people, as well as miserable rich people. Our focus should be on the eternal, not the temporal.

3. It Funds the Gospel
"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” - Romans 10:14-15

I'm sure we've all heard these verses mentioned when discussing missionaries or global missions - what a simple but powerful truth! How will people know, unless they are told? In the introduction I mentioned that we are all painfully aware that everything costs money - so do missions! Like Scott said on Sunday, it's not like the airport lets all missionaries hop on the plane without buying a ticket. There are not unlimited reserves of free food to feed missionary families. These things all cost money, and these messengers of God are dependent upon the generosity of other believers to help them get to the place where they can share the Gospel.

You may not be called to share the Gospel with an unreached people group on the other side of the world, but you can buy a plane ticket for someone who is.

4. It Ministers to Missionaries
"I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need." - Philippians 4:10,15-16

In some ways, global missions look a lot different today than they did a few thousand years ago. But in other ways, they are exactly same. Here in this passage we see that Paul is rejoicing and expressing his gratitude for the church in Philippi for their generosity in supporting his ministry. Just like missionaries today, Paul was financially dependent upon other believers while he travelled from church to church, preaching the Word of God.

We understand missionaries require funds to operate, but like Scott said, financial support also reaffirms to the missionary that they are not alone. They may be physically removed from their home, but the support shows them that other believers back home are contributing to the same mission right alongside them. 
How Should I Give to Missions?

1. Decide What God Would Have You to Give
"Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." - 2 Corinthians 9:7

2. Give it Regularly
"Now about the collection for the Lord’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made." - 1 Corinthians 16:1-2

3. The Church Distributes It
"Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem." - 1 Corinthians 1:3

Probably the main point to make here is this: giving to missions is completely unrelated to your tithe. This week's message does not touch on the concept of tithing, but please know that giving to missions does not replace your tithe and you should not decrease your tithe to make room for missions giving.

At MLBC, we follow the model of Faith Promise Giving.

What this means is, you prayerfully determine an amount to give towards missions above and beyond your tithe, and then you donate it regularly to the church. Missionaries need regular, monthly support - not just a one-time, lump sum gift. By following this model, we aim to provide a steady, reliable form of support to our missionaries. If you haven't received a Faith Promise Giving card yet, be on the lookout for one this Sunday.

Scott closed by presenting a powerful visual representation of the current state of missions giving at MLBC. I'll give you a numerical breakdown here, using some nice rounded numbers.

We currently have around 30% of our regularly attending adults giving towards missions. Let's say we have 100 regularly attending adults, so that's 30 people.

Our annual missions contribution goal is set at $100,000.

If those 30 people were to take that on all by themselves, that's going to require each person to give around $280 per month in order to reach that goal.

However, if all 100 regularly attending adults contribute something towards that goal, it would average out to about $84 per person per month.

Hopefully, this puts the power of unity into perspective. As Scott demonstrated Sunday, we can either ask the 30% who are already giving to dig deep and give even more, or we can ask the other 70% to get on board with supporting missions and see how much more can be accomplished when we work together for God's glory.

If you are not already supporting the global effort to spread the Gospel, I hope and pray that you consider joining in.

"This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else." - 2 Corinthians 9:12-13
I hope you all have made plan to attend the "All Things" Missions Conference next week! The activities begin Sunday afternoon with a picnic, and then continue Monday-Wednesday evening with a meal and service, highlighting a different missionary each night. If you want more information, or still need to sign up for meals and/or child care, you can do so by clicking here.

Have a great week, and we will see you on Sunday! 

1 Comment

Scott - September 20th, 2022 at 4:35pm

Well written Cade. Thank you for the math. It certainly generates a conversation starter with God regarding my commitment card.