Recently our Missions Committee recommended and the Elder Board approved a missions trip for me to go to India to train pastors at a Pastors conference later this year. I was very excited about this opportunity that God seemed to clearly put before me. Then I received the estimated cost from my pastor contact in Andra Pradash and I was shocked. Included in this estimated cost were all the expenses related to hosting, housing and feeding 300 (est.) Pastors that attend the conference. I couldn’t imagine being invited to be the guest speaker and then having all the cost for the conference passed on to me. But after speaking with a new Indian friend of mine, I received a clearer understanding of why this happened. You see the pastors who serve in the village ministries that I would be serving and encouraging minister in very destitute and poor areas. My friend told me they may be paid between $30-$50 a month. A month! It is hard to imagine serving under those circumstances. So I stated “They must be bi-vocational with that kind of pay”. He assured me most are full-time Pastors. It is hard for us living with a western mindset, based on all the advantages and opportunities we have, to even imagine serving under those circumstances. But the truth is that probably the majority of those serving Christ around the world are living under these same circumstances. The center of Christianity has shifted from Europe and North America to places like Africa, Asia and Central America. These places have experienced sweeping spiritual awakenings but have very little material resources. So why should we do missions anyway?
Well if God has given us the resources to impact our world on the other side of the world, then it is a matter of stewardship. God desires that we use what He has entrusted to us for the building up of His kingdom. I am reminded of Jesus’ words in the 16th chapter of Luke’s gospel “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much” (v.10 NIV). Jesus also said in the 12th chapter of Luke’s gospel “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded, and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (v.48b NIV). We live in perhaps the wealthiest nation in the history of the human race. God has blessed our nation and our state with great material resources. As Christians using those resources for God’s glory is critical to be faithful stewards. So whether it is going to the local food bank, ministering to the homeless in NYC, building a church in Honduras, or ministering to destitute Pastors in India, let us be wise stewards of the resources God has committed to us.
Next week I would like to look further at this question “Why do missions anyway?” by considering the church in Antioch in the 13th chapter of Acts that changed its world by becoming a “sending church”. Until then I am reminded of God’s question to Moses when He called him to deliver Israel “What is in your hand?” So I ask you “what is in your hand?” that you can use for God’s glory and honor in helping Him build His kingdom?
All for Christ,