Get ready for some financial truth.
Each organization has a different approach to how their missionaries raise funds. I’m not convinced that one way is better than the other. At the end of the day, its still God’s people funding God’s work. Our organization requires their missionaries to raise their support personally. I knew this when I decided to become a missionary with Word of Life. When I was accepted, 13+ years ago, as a full time servant with Word of Life, I began this challenge of asking friends, family, churches and perfect strangers to consider giving financially so that I could serve full-time on the field. When I first began, I was single. When Rob and I got married, we did this together. We are still doing it.
I think its hard for some people to understand this whole idea of people asking for support. Not many people are comfortable talking about money nor do they appreciate when others tell them what they should do with theirs. I want to share with you something that I learned recently about how the Lord provides for those who choose to give their lives to full-time service.
When I first started on this journey, I have to admit that I was embarrassed. Its not fun asking people to give you money. Its not fun to ruin relationships with certain people because you asked for money. Even though this shouldn’t be the case, some people become very offended and evasive with you when this subject comes up. People that you thought would be willing to at least listen avoid you like the plague. This process is not fun. I truly hated it for a long time, but did it because it was what was asked of me.
Recently, Rob and I did a class on support raising called, Support Raising Solutions. I have to be honest. I was really not excited about doing it. Again, my ideals about support raising were hovering around “I have to do this, but I don’t want to”. I knew and believed that God provided for what we need, but I didn’t want to have to ask for it.
During this class, we were required to read a book called The God Ask. The Lord showed me something wonderful in this book. In the book of Deuteronomy, the Lord is giving each tribe their inheritance, but in chapter 18 he says this:
“1The Levitical priests—indeed, the whole tribe of Levi—are to have no allotment or inheritance with Israel. They shall live on the food offerings presented to the Lord, for that is their inheritance. 2They shall have no inheritance among their fellow Israelites; the Lord is their inheritance, as he promised them.
3This is the share due the priests from the people who sacrifice a bull or a sheep: the shoulder, the internal organs and the meat from the head. 4You are to give them the firstfruits of your grain, new wine and olive oil, and the first wool from the shearing of your sheep, 5for the Lord your God has chosen them and their descendants out of all your tribes to stand and minister in the Lord’s name always.
6If a Levite moves from one of your towns anywhere in Israel where he is living, and comes in all earnestness to the place the Lord will choose, 7he may minister in the name of the Lord his God like all his fellow Levites who serve there in the presence of the Lord. 8He is to share equally in their benefits, even though he has received money from the sale of family possessions.”
The thing that stuck out to me about this is how the Lord provided for his servants. He didn’t just provide for their needs, but He gave them the best of what was offered to Him and he told the other tribes that he was going to use what they gave to do it! He gave his servants the first fruits and sacrifices that were offered to Him by the people of God. He set up this system of providing for His servants. It was his plan from the beginning to care for them in this way.
I am so humbled and thankful that the Lord doesn’t just provide for my needs, but He gives me the best of what he has to offer. When I am asking people for support, I am following the plan for how God has chosen to provide for me. I am also providing an opportunity for others to be obedient and take part in what the Lord is doing around the world.
I cannot control how people respond when they are approached about giving, but I can take joy in knowing that I am being obedient to the Lord and my needs will be met in abundance. Praise the Lord!