Monday, April 28, 2008

04 28 08 Hospitality and Encouragement

“They have told the church about your love.
You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God.”
(3 John 1:6 NET)

This writing from the elder, most believed to be the aging and last surviving apostle John, is an instruction to show hospitality and support to the traveling missionaries/preachers going throughout the churches, here in Asia Minor. There have been instances where apparent church leaders (in this case Diotrephes) have refused to allow the missionaries to preach and teach, even instructing others not to support them as well. Diotrephes seems to be a man of pride and refuses to be instructed by the aging apostle.

John writes to Gaius to be sure he has not fallen into the trap of this non-Christ-like attitude and instruction. It is indeed a good and Godly thing to show HOSPITALITY AND ENCOURAGEMENT to anyone in need of temporary housing and food, but especially to one (or a group) who is taking the Gospel message not just to unreached people, but even to believers who need to hear perhaps a more detailed and personal message.

Does this happen today? Is there a debate over who should care for the missionaries, both local and abroad? Is there a question as to why we should care? You bet there is! You may not experience it as you go to church every Sunday or participate in the weekly activities of your, local church. But it’s real!

I was so hurt and embarrassed one evening when I heard someone comment as to the why missionaries have to ask for financial support. I thought this was a given within the Church. While mission workers are willing to do whatever they need to do personally to support the work, all are not as talented as Paul (the tent-maker). To work part-time would not only forfeit the work they were called to do, but wouldn’t put a dent in the funds that are needed. Some have used every penny of personal funds and go without health and life insurance. Very few have any savings or emergency funds. It’s a life of total dependence upon God and His people; we His people.

Those committed to serving the Lord full time have the same daily commitments everyone has: monthly rent or mortgage, household needs such as food and drink, maintenance needs for the home and cars, clothing costs, etc. Because of the nature of the job, there are also travel costs and supply needs. Mission work is a family business and it should be the family of God’s business to support such work. If John, the one Jesus loved, felt so back in the first century, is it not so today?

I thank God for my home church every day! Not only do we support missionaries, but our Pastor challenges us to be missionaries: whether participating in short-term mission trips, working within our neighborhoods, or giving our lives to Christ as full-time servants in the mission field. Our church supports missionaries world-wide financially, with mission conferences, and through various other displays of HOSPITALITY AND ENCOURAGEMENT.

We’ll never realize how effective our prayers, words of encouragement, letters, or (if you’re able) financial contributions will be until we see the results in glory. Let’s all pray as to how we all can show more HOSPITALITY AND ENCOURAGEMENT to those called out to do His work outside of the church buildings and see how uniquely supportive we can be at that! Yes, it’s a new day and a new time, yet the same task is before as was with John and the church:

“You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God.”

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Wow, This blog was exactly what I needed to read today. I'm a young person graduated this May, and I feel called to go to Romania again on a two month missionary trip. I'm prepared to give more than I have to go, and I needed some encouragement. My father who group up in the faith acts like it is not financially wise. In the worlds eyes, yes, in God's, it is the best way to spend money. It'll further his kingdom. So thank you and God bless you!

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