I have wanted to write this for years but haven’t had the guts. But now, here goes: There are several things I dislike about being a missionary and one of the top ones is asking for money. I do not like traveling around and speaking in order to raise money. I do not like writing letters in order to raise money. I do not like it, Sam I am. I do not want to look at friends as walking wallets, or churches as banks. I do not want to be thinking about how I can get more people and more churches to give more money.
But there is another perspective as well. And that is that we in the Body of Christ work together to accomplish the wider goals of the Kingdom. We share and give in order to enable other members of the Body–such as pastors and missionaries–to minister more widely and effectively. Not only that, but what really matters is that giving is an act of worship. We do not give just in order to ‘get more done in ministry’ but because we are grateful to God and we want to worship him by giving financially as well as by singing, praying, preaching and serving. As David prayed, “In the uprightness of my heart I have freely offered all these things, and now I have seen your people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to you. (1 Chr0nicles 29:17b ESV)
Another point to be made is that it takes money to do ministry. For example, in order for Matthew to get to Poland to minister to youth there, he needed money for food for him to eat during those 10 days, an airline ticket to get back home, etc., etc. In order for me to go to a village in southern Hungary to training Bayash in how to do Bible translation, I needed money to pay for gas for the car, tolls for the road, groceries for breakfast, money for eating at a restaurant for lunch and supper between the training sessions, funds to pay for the printer ink cartridges and paper for the handouts, and money to pay the Bayash translators for two days of their work time.
In practical terms, the more money that is given, the more ministry we can do. We do need funds to pay our rent and utilities, to buy milk and meat, to keep the lights on and the heat pumping, but that is just the basic money to keep us living in Hungary. Yet we want to do more than just live here. In order to go to a Roma village and find out which language is spoken there, we have to pay for gas to travel, a bed and breakfast to stay in, a recording device for gathering audio samples, and cups of coffee to keep me awake as I drive home. If we have funds for projects beyond our salary, then we can do ministry projects. If we don’t, we can’t.
So in some ways it is true that the more money is given, the more ministry can be done. And that, frankly, is exciting. There are still tens of thousands of Roma (Gypsies) who need to have the Scriptures and have their lives transformed by God’s Spirit and his Word. And it takes money to get to them and to minister to them. That is what we are here to do. I like that. I do like that, Sam I am.