“Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the believers. You are faithful even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church about your love. Please help them by sending them on their way in a manner that honors God. They started on their journey to serve Jesus Christ. They didn't receive any help from those who aren't believers. So we should welcome people like them. We should work together with them for the truth.”(3 John 1:5-8 NIrV)
The last surviving Apostle is writing to his dear children, those under his authority to support missionaries travelling about from church to church defining the instructions of Christ as they come against false teachings. Clearly John does not refer to himself alone by the use of the first person plural pronoun here, since the issue is support for the traveling missionaries. He instructs that all true Christians ought to support the endeavors of these traveling missionaries in their efforts to counteract the heretical teaching of the opponents. What does this say to believers today: I believe every believer is called to missions!
We all need to sacrifice for the spreading of the Gospel. Some are called to sacrifice their life and vocation to go…some are called to sacrifice their finances and give…still others are called to sacrifice their time and petition God on behalf of the servants in the mission field.
John refers to himself, Gaius, and all genuine Christians, all of whom should “become coworkers in cooperation with the truth” (NET Bible) by supporting the efforts of the traveling missionaries. More explicitly (1 John 4:6) identifies the Holy Spirit as “the Spirit of truth”, a characterization repeated in (1 John 5:6). Thus it seems likely that the “truth” at work through the missionaries here is ultimately the Holy Spirit, who works through their efforts. Accordingly the Christian who supports them becomes a co-worker with the Spirit of God himself.
Do we all not desire to be an effective partner with God’s Spirit which is at work within each of us? What greater reward than to know we have been a part of winning a soul for Christ through the actions of a missionary, whether he is thousands of miles away or in our own neighborhood? The bottom line is that we are partnering with the Holy Spirit through the missionary to increase the Kingdom and equip the saints. That’s a winning team!
So how deep is our commitment to join in? How will we choose to go…literally, financially, through intercessory prayer? While many are called …the few commit do go.