As an evangelical, church-planting missionary in the Muslim world, I am often torn and burdened by the physical and financial needs I see around me. Paul encouraged Timothy to be content when he has enough food to eat and clothes to wear (1 Tim. 6:8). But what about when a brother in Christ lacks these basic needs? David said that in all of his many years he had never seen the seed of the righteous begging for bread (Ps. 37:25). But I have just this week. A family in one of the churches here has been run out of their home that they rented when they were found to be eating during Ramadan. The husband recently went through months of recovery from an motorcycle accident and has no funds in store. Another brother has AIDS and needs a job to eat.
An even heavier burden is the spiritual needs all around me. I daily drive through cities and neighborhoods with no Christians, no church meeting on Sunday to preach the Word, no pastor to care for the people, no Sunday school for kids to grow up in, no hope, only eternal death waiting for the children I see playing happily in the streets.
In America, we have a great abundance of both finances and churches. We overflow with blessings of God having been enriched so greatly that we cannot possibly spend it all. We save money on top of money and build churches on top of churches. But is that God’s plan? Is that God’s purpose for our wealth?
Paul spoke of generosity in his second letter to the Corinthian church. He said that God had enriched this church so that they could overflow in generosity in every way (9:11). This generosity to the missionary efforts of Paul had a result that Paul clearly saw as being the goal of this whole program: thanksgiving to God!
Imagine this scenario: American churches have an abundance of supply both physically and spiritually having been enriched, not by self effort, but by God. So we give of our preachers and we send them with our money. We commission them to preach the good news to the spiritually impoverished and to be generous to those brothers who lack the basic needs. This week we will look for a way to generously poor out the generous gifts sent to us by the churches on these needs. We will stand between want and supply, life and death, eternal bliss and eternal hell with our gifts.
I love to remember the thanksgiving offered up to God by these brothers and imagine the thanks to God that is to result. I got two letters this week offering thanksgiving to God. One email came from Justin Williams who I led to Christ 16 years ago. He was thanking me but really thanking God. Another email came from a former Muslim I led to Christ 6 years ago. My wife was able to lead his wife to Christ last year. Both of these brothers are now serving Christ in ministry pastoring people and leading others to this same Christ. What multiplied thanks!
I imagine the thankful hearts of these other brothers in need this week. I want to generously meet their needs. Why? Because I want them to say, “What a great and good God to turn the hearts of our brothers towards our need with overwhelming supply! Praise Jesus! Thank you God! Thank you!”
This is what God desires to hear. He loves to receive thanksgiving! What a wonderful result of your missions generosity!