by Jims | September 29th, 2009
An estimated 228 million lost people are in the U.S. and Canada; that’s seven out of 10 people. To reach all of these people there are currently 5,176 missionaries (1,454 are career; 1,791 receive short-term funding; and 1,931 are Mission Service Corps missionaries). Our gifts to the Cooperative Program go directly to the support of these men and women and their families who are spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ all over the U.S. and Canada. They have a great task before them and are counting on the Body of Christ to fund their efforts to reach millions.
3 John establishes principles for the church to follow in supporting missionaries. Verse 5 tells us that those we are supporting will sometimes come from within our own fellowship, but John said, “especially for the brethren even though they are strangers.” John placed a heavy emphasis on supporting missionaries whom we do not know. Verse 6 instructs us to support missionaries in “a manner worthy of God.” We are to support those who answer this high call as if we are supporting Jesus, for these men and women are “going forth for His name’s sake.”
Another principle we learn for missionary support in 3 John is that they are to “take nothing from the Heathen.” The full support of the local church ministry and missionaries who go with the intent of spreading the gospel is to come from the local church. Early in my ministry a man who was not a believer attempted to give a very large sum of money to the church where I served. My pastor refused to take the money even though we really needed it to complete a building program and to send mission teams on the field. It was the principle of “taking nothing from the Heathen” that guided him in his decision. After my pastor refused to allow the church to accept the money, God honored his faithfulness to the Word. God allowed the building debt to be paid and provided for every member of the mission teams that summer through the sacrificial giving of God’s people. The man who was refused, very shortly after, gave his heart to Christ and later testified that it was the pastor’s stand on the Word that caused him to see that Jesus is real.
In verse 8 John said, “We may become fellow workers of the truth.” As we support those who go, we actually become a part of the effort to reach 228 million people with the gospel. Our Lord will honor faithfulness to His plan and He will allow us to be a part of the victory He provides. Whether it is supporting a missionary or being faithful to sacrificially give to our building fund, as God’s will is accomplished we join hands with other members of the Body and give Him praise for allowing us to participate in His will for North America and the World.