I wish I was wealthy, but not for the reasons you think.
I was always attracted to the nobility of vocational ministry—having the privilege of making a living from the gospel. While it's a financially humbling endeavor (certainly not a gig one pursues for the payout) our family has been blessed never to have been in financial peril during any time of our 13+ years of ministry. Recently, however, I realized I understated a critical truth throughout my ministry: money makes things go. Kingdom work depends on funding and it seems there's just never enough cash on hand.
I wish I was wealthy, but not to better my family's existence.
There are so many amazing ministry causes I'm aware of but I can't assist all of them. Our family commits more than a tithe to support gospel efforts around the globe. And our little church is committed to the cause as well—with the first 20% of our budget going to mission works.
I wish I was wealthy so I could give more.
It absolutely rips my heart up when a missionary contacts me asking for resources, all so they can minister in God-forsaken places, and I have to refuse. Just thinking about it makes me ill. And, for some reason, it seems like I'm getting more and more calls for support.
Do you share my desire for wealth?
Maybe you're not giving to causes beyond your own church community. Or maybe you're incredibly wealthy and just stumbled on to this post by a Google search. Can I encourage you to make a commitment to missionaries? Let me give you a few reasons.
1. They're not getting rich off this deal.
Dan Dyke, a professor at CCU, co-leads a small group with me. Last semester he told the story of a missionary who lived his entire life in poverty but continued to serve faithfully. So just because you see the pictures of the missionaries in some exotic place you'd love to vacation doesn't mean they're living a lifestyle above their means. I've rarely witnessed a missionary who had more than what they needed to survive. If you have an expensive hobby but are stingy when it comes to supporting missionaries, I think should recalibrate your priorities.
2. They're doing work that requires their full attention.
I'm a very big proponent of bivocational ministry (having a job while serving as a minister); I've been in doing it in some form since we've started Echo. But I know of some congregations that are now demanding that their missionaries have some sort of money-making endeavor on the side to help fund their own mission. While that's a strategic approach, it can be completely unrealistic in many missionary cultures. It's difficult to enter a business market as a foreigner and compete. These missionaries need to have the freedom to devote themselves fully to the ministry, and they can often do it at a much more affordable cost than ministers in the States.
3. They're where we're not.
Admit it: there are places in the world that you're glad you never have to go. Well, that's where missionaries are right now. They're committed to going there because it's a calling. If God hasn't called you to be there, the least you can do is support those who are paying the price.
I wish I was wealthy, but maybe I just need to be more generous.
Yep, this is all a massive guilt trip, but a little guilt can be good.
If you're a follower of Jesus, you're part of a global body that meets all over the world. And there's always things we can do to support our brothers and sisters around the globe. I'd encourage you to give of your wealth to support these efforts.
Whether it's people like Adam and Kristy Griffith in Thailand, Tracey and Christine Keitt in Chile, Tom and Suja Brane in Burkina Faso, Brent and Anna Fudge in Haiti, Wendy Wagoner in Tanzania, Dawid and Justyna Wawrzyniak in Poland, Daniel and Buzi Mawyio in Myanmar, or Sam and Brittany Gill in Pakistan. They (and many more) could use your help.