Monday, September 9, 2019

The Giver, Not the Gift

This is quite possibly the only post of this nature I will ever write.

First, because it GREATLY contradicts my philosophy on missions and guilt and friendships and money. It's uncomfortable.

And, second, because I vowed early on never to be "that" missionary but here I go . . .

A couple of months ago, I was listening to a podcast by David Platt. He is NOT the guy you want to listen to if you enjoy  complacency in your faith walk or if your comfort zone is a place  you've planned to occupy until there's nothing left to binge watch.

Yes, the guy who wrote "Radical". That's the one.

So, he quoted Leonard Ravenhill, a British pastor who was openly critical of the First World church until his death in 1994.  And here is the quote:

Cringy? Convicting? Annoying?  It's going to hit different people in different ways.

I PROMISED early on in the life of our ministry here in The Philippines that I would not be that missionary. . .you know the one.  The one who comments about how giving up your Latte for a month could provide clean water for the Hookabooka people for seven centuries (I made that up but you know the type).  I very much do not want to be the missionary that makes her friends feel guilty for going to Disney World six times a year while kids languish in the streets of Asia eating from trash cans.
I'm not the Holy Spirit. 
I don't convict people.
I don't decide how fellow Believers distribute their God-given resources. 

But IF this quote by Ravenhill is to be believed, the Body of Christ has to do better.  We have to.

That includes me.  

I know what you're thinking. 
"Ah, giving must be low at Mercy House right now so it's time for Nikki to pull out the big guns".

And I respond to that,
"Not at all. This is not about our ministry alone and it's not about  'getting more money' out of
first world Believers. 

It's highly probable that I'm "preaching to the choir" here because the people who take the time to read a blog post about missions are probably already giving sacrificially, serving locally and praying fervently for the gospel to go out worldwide.  

This post is for YOU.  First world Christ followers. It is solely intended to benefit you. Not our ministry or any other ministry.

Check this out:
I recently did a short study on Philippians.  Chapter four contains a couple of the most quoted (and misquoted) scriptures in the Bible. One of them is Philippians 4:19 which reads

"and my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in 
Christ Jesus"

Missionaries LOVE that verse.  Anything that reminds us that God cares about our needs and will supply them is balm to our living-on -love gifts souls.

But Paul did not write that verse for himself or his fellow missionaries. That scripture was for his supporters!  Read the whole chapter. Paul is praising the church at Philippi for being his ONLY supporting church and reminding them he is not seeking more "stuff" from them but that he is seeking the fruit of the gospel.  Paul reminds the church at Philippi that the fruit of his work is to THEIR credit. 

How beautiful is that?  
The gospel goes out and the messenger is not given the credit but the ones who support the messenger are.  

I love God's economy.  
It's nothing like the world's.

The "silent partners" are the ones in the spotlight . They are the ones for whom God will "supply every need".  

That makes my heart sing. 

How desperately I want the Lord to bless every Believer who invests in missions. And His word says He will. He will provide for your needs as you provide for those who GO.

As I type this blog post, my mind travels to some precious faces in the First World. I imagine you sitting down at your computer and clicking on our web site to give. I imagine you writing a check, getting a stamp and giving "old school" through the regular mail as you think of us and share your resources with people thousands of miles away who don't have their basic needs met and who do not know the saving love of Jesus.

And I am smiling right now.

I don't know if the quote by Leonard Ravenhill is true. I suspect for many it is. 
But for those who do sacrifice for global missions, I believe God IS providing for your needs. He said he would.  His word is trustworthy. 

And if God has pricked your heart while reading this blog post, can I ask one tiny favor?

Don't stop feeding your pets! 

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