As we continue our Lottie Moon Christmas Offering®, I thought it might be helpful to reiterate some biblical reasons why we should be encouraged to give. Four of them will be review from Sunday’s sermon. And one of them is not so that we can light up all the bulbs on our Christmas wreath (a happy reason, but not necessarily a biblical one). But there are some very good and biblical reasons to support our missionaries, light bulbs or no! Here they are:
1. Because we simply want to be faithful to our Father. God’s heart is for the nations – that He might receive glory among every tribe and tongue. This is the great mission that He is on about in the world. And, as when we saw our earthly dads fixing the car or planting a garden in our younger years, it ought to be our eager delight to say: ‘Father, can I help? Can I pitch in?’ Our involvement in the Father’s plan of world evangelization, and our support of those who go out, is simply a matter of faithfulness! “You are acting faithfully in whatever you accomplish for the brethren” (3 John 5).
2. Because … who else will support our missionaries? John describes certain traveling preachers in his own day as “accepting nothing from the Gentiles” (3 John 7); receiving no support from the unbelieving world. And John’s conclusion (v.8) is that the church “ought to support such men.” And so it is today. Our missionaries are not usually on the payroll of some wealthy corporation or benefactor. They’re on ours. And so if we don’t support them, who will?
3. Because … how will the nations be saved without preachers? Yes, God can save anybody He wants. And He doesn’t need human means. But He has ordained that he almost always works through them! And, as to the salvation of perishing souls, here is the logic of the New Testament: “How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14). A good question, no? How are all these tribes and tongues going to come to worship Jesus unless someone tells them about Jesus? And how will anyone tell them, Paul goes on to ask in v.15, “unless they are sent?” And how can we send them, I ask, unless we give monetarily to their support?
4. Because there is reward in missionary support. “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal” (Matthew 6:20). And how do you do so? Well, Paul spoke of people won to Christ as his “joy and crown” (Philippians 4:1). And surely this will be one of the greatest rewards of heaven – people who will be there worshipping around the throne because we prayed, or gave, or shared Christ. That’s reason to give! And so is the “well done” that the Lord will speak to those who invest their earthly treasures well (Luke 19:11-27).
5. Because giving puts us on the mission field, by proxy. “We ought to support such men, so that we may be fellow workers with the truth” (3 John 8). So, if you give to a missionary in Thailand, you are joining with him in the work there, by means of this emissary you’ve helped to send out. You are doing missions, too … even when it is simply by means of the offering plate!
6. For the sake of the second coming of Christ. “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). So there is work to do before Jesus comes again – the work of preaching the gospel among all the peoples. So let’s support those who are out there getting it done – yes, for the sake of those peoples … but also for the sake of the coming of Christ, which we are taught to hasten (2 Peter 3:12).
7. Because we want to see the name of Jesus made famous. The preachers spoken of in 3 John “went out for the sake of the Name” (v.7). They went out, not simply to rescue poor, dying sinners (though they did do that). They went out, not simply to make the world a better place (though that does happen where the gospel is preached and believed). But the way John describes them, specifically, is going out “for the sake of the Name”; so that they might, in other words, make the name of Jesus famous! So that the peoples and tribes would sing that Name, and rejoice in that Name, and preach that Name, and do good in that Name. So that the name of Jesus would become the most precious word in every one of the languages into which it enters! And that, dear friends, is reason to empty our pockets for the cause of world missions!