Does the bible speak about ...

Denae asked:

Does the bible speak about missionaries asking for money? I am going to be a missionary and am struggling with the idea of asking for money. What pleases the Lord in this area?Denae

Jack Answered:

Denae, different missionaries have come to distinct conclusions on the matter of asking for money. " Hudson Taylor (founder of the China Inland Mission) set the bar high by concluding that God’s call to him was to never make a direct appeal for money though he did make the needs of the Mission known in indirect ways, trusting on the Lord to move individuals’ hearts. " Others have no problems making a direct appeal and even hire professional fund raisers who help them write their letters.

I would encourage you to study Philippians 4:10-20. In every verse, Paul makes a reference to money and his financial needs. Two classic verses are 13 and 19: " V. 13: He (the missionary) confides in the Lord to give him strength as he moves ahead whether “living in plenty or in want.” " V. 19: He trust that the Lord will meet all the needs of his supporters. Interestingly enough, he doesn’t directly ask them for financial support but thanks them for their faithfulness and it is obvious that he is dependent on believers like them.

In Romans 15:23ff, Paul speaks of his plan to minister in Spain. In v. 24 he tells them, “I hope to visit you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey for a while.” This verb translated “assist” is used to refer to all the assistance a traveler needs for his journey, including financial resources. Thus, he doesn’t hide his material need though he is much more direct in asking for their prayers (vv. 30, 31). Although it may sound simplistic, we need to remember that the basic source of our sustenance is the Lord Himself. He called you, He promised to never leave or forsake you, He has all the resources you'll ever need, and you are never out of His sight. What does this mean? - We have the full right to come before Him and present our need. - We have often found that the lack of support is an indication of God's nudging to deal with some other issues - to get our attention. For example, He once was reminding us to be faithful in our tithe, as an illustration of faith. - As we see in Abraham, one of the greatest lessons the Lord wants to teach us is what it means to trust Him for all our needs, be they financial, physical, spiritual, etc. If that is the case (and it is!), just as we see in Abraham's life, we can expect periods of testing.

William P. Dillon has written a helpful book entitled People Raising: A Practical Guide to Raising Support (Moody Press, 1993). I think he walks the middle ground between the "don't ask anyone" and "hiring a professional fund raiser") extremes. As the title indicates, he focus on people and not money. You not only need dollars coming in. You need people behind you both in prayer and in funding. I trust these thoughts will be helpful to you, Denae.

Jack

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