Giving to Missionaries Should Not Be Capricious


I don’t understand why people are capricious in their giving to missionaries. God prompts them to give to a certain missionary, and then they yank their support on a whim. A missionary would have to do something terrible for me to stop supporting him because if God prompted me to give, it would be disobedient for me to withdraw the funds. It is God whom I serve.

I hated the whole song and dance for people to throw a penny in the hat routine that I had to endure every time we went on furlough to the States. We visited one church after another, trying to prove that they should support us. My dad was an outstanding seminary professor, teaching Greek and New Testament theology to Spanish-speaking pastors all over the world. If we had to prove something, why didn’t the seminary students send recommendation letters about my dad? They could have easily done so, and I wouldn’t have felt like I was on display as a little girl, standing in front of churches.

One time while visiting a church in Canada on furlough, my dad spoke about all that was happening in Guatemala, and why the church should support us. After the service, my cousin’s daughter (who didn’t know that I was the daughter of the man who preached) said that my dad seemed like he was selling something.

Yes, that is what missionaries are reduced to: having to sell what they do. It’s stupid. Look, if God doesn’t prompt you to support a missionary, don’t support him. If God does prompt you, don’t be disobedient and bratty to pull away your support for no reason, just because you want more money in your pocket. All of our money belongs to God. It’s not ours. Many missionaries have had to leave the mission field because of capricious givers who disobey God.

On the other hand, missionaries do need to be making a difference in people’s lives. We should see God working. If God is not working at all, it seems like God wouldn’t have prompted us to give in the first place, though. In the Czech Republic, it sometimes takes 10 years of witnessing and hard work for one person to be converted. Even though God is working, there might be no conversions for years. But now, 12 years later, we see lots of soft hearts toward God that were not there a decade ago. God is definitely working.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that if God initially prompts you to support a missionary every month, it is God that you are obeying. I think it would be easier if fewer churches who really know the missionaries could support with bigger amounts, so that the missionaries don’t have to drag their children on display to 30 churches that we had to visit every furlough to “peddle our wares” or prove that God wanted my dad to continue to serve at the seminary that he loved so much. Give to God and be faithful to follow through to support the missionaries that He wants you to support, and don’t forget to pray for them.

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5 Responses to “Giving to Missionaries Should Not Be Capricious”

  1. Debbie says:

    We had a missionary come to our church last Sunday. I agree that it is hard for them to beg. I also, agree with you that if God puts on your heart to help a missionary that you need to keep helping them as long as you can. What I liked about this missionaries talk is that he brought pictures, so that you could see how you would be helping them with your money.

    • Susan Evans says:

      Missionaries could send a slide show of pictures through YouTube to show how they can be prayed for and what they are doing overseas. The churches could show the slide show on a Sunday morning so that the missionaries don’t have to physically return to the U.S. just to try to raise money. I think that would be a great idea.

      Missionaries do need to see their families in the U.S. once in a while, but it could be more of a break and not so much working to raise money.

  2. N.K.Dover says:

    I totally agree with you that we should CHEERFULLY give as God leads regardless of whether we “feel like it” “agree with everything” “see something” etc. The children’s obedience song has some very clear truths in it:

    Obedience is the very best way to show that we believe, doing exactly as the Lord commands, doing it willingly. Action is the key, act immediately, joy you will receive; obedience is the very best way to show that you believe!

    Having said that, I would like to present another thought. When I was growing up, I heard people talk about people being ‘called’ to be a missionary. In my mind, this meant that someone had to have some kind of superspiritual experience (i.e. a voice from Heaven, an angelic visitation or some other very specific message) and since that had never happened to me, I did not have to consider the possibility of being a missionary. Further, I thought that missionaries were some type of super spiritual people–something above mankind and just below angels. Clearly…that was not me.

    Then, I met some real missionaries at a mission conference. It changed everything for me. I came to realize that missionaries are people. I came to understand that the main difference between any other Christian and a missionary–is obedience. It meant that I had to get real with my Lord and give my life to Him in a totally different way. It also changed the way I teach children—it made me talk about missions and His call to reach the lost more fervently. It made me pray for others differently.

    So, while I can empathize with your need to not be dragged around and displayed–I want to encourage you to meet people and challenge people and especially….to talk to the children. Let them get to know you so that they grow up knowing that missions and obedience to our Lord and Savior is for everyone.

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