- For us to be freed up from this bondage to money
- For us not to be bound by any temporal limitation
- For us to view money simply as a tool to accomplish His purposes on earth
Over the years, the U.S. has been involved in various wars. I can’t quite picture one of our military leaders complaining, “Man, these missiles are expensive. Over a million bucks apiece! Are there any cheaper generic brands we can pick up at a local wholesaler?” And I’d be completely shocked if a ranking officer replied, “Yeah…and these stealth bombers are running a half a billion each! Can’t we find some older Vietnam-era planes that could work just as well?” No, their objective is not to save money; it is to win the war—at any cost. It seems obvious they are willing to spend whatever they need to in order to achieve victory. In contrast, you and I have been enlisted in a much bigger battle than any the world has ever seen. As good soldiers of Christ Jesus, we have embraced the great conflict of the ages, the clash of the titans between God and Satan, the eternal struggle over the souls of every man and woman on earth.
How about you? Is your goal to be, and do (and spend!) whatever it takes to win this war and complete the task of world evangelization that God has given each of us? Enrolling in His army means Jesus Christ is our commanding officer and the Great Commission is our marching orders. It means we will let vision pull our train (not budget) and trust God to supply everything we could possibly need to get the job done and complete our assignment.
But we Christian workers are notorious for focusing on the molehills instead of the mountains, aren’t we? We get confused into thinking we need to somehow “save” God money by spending inordinate amounts of time and energy clipping coupons, collecting pennies, and scavenging every garage sale and thrift store.
I have had some missionaries point to WWI or WWII as a time where all Americans exercised a supposed “wartime” lifestyle, cutting back and saving every salvageable item to turn back in so that all resources could be mobilized to the front lines. Yes, that is true—IF you view yourself as a homemaker back in the states who is not personally engaged in the combat. But, if you instead perceive yourself as a military officer, leading soldierson the field of battle, you will view things a bit differently. Your goal there is not to be thrifty or frugal. No! In fact, you will want to make sure your men have every available resource they need, the very best of the best equipment and weapons to not only to fight the war…but win it!
So, what is your role (and perception of yourself!) in this eternal, worldwide battle God has us engaged in that has much more far-reaching consequences than the mere man-made wars our governments jump into? i.e. Are you a “homemaker” just trying to do your little part for the cause, or are you a General in God’s army, seeking to raise whatever amounts of resources required to triumph over Satan and his minions? You see, how you perceive yourself and your role will determine whether you are satisfied in just living a small, quiet, “simple” lifestyle or whether you choose to lift your eyes, expand your vision, and move up to embrace an aggressive, all-out, “wartime” lifestyle.
Understand, I am not recommending an expensive, luxurious existence with comforts and conveniences everywhere. No, I am just trying to help every Christian worker, every missionary, every person who raises their support ask themselves the why question. WHY am I living the way I live? Am I doing it simply to save money or am I doing it to fulfill the Great Commission, and win the battle God has called us to?
Below is a chart that contrasts some of the possible differences between a Support Raiser who is living the Simple Lifestyle vs. a Wartime Lifestyle.
|Simple Lifestyle||Wartime Lifestyle|
|Budget pulls their train||Vision pulls their train|
|Constantly asks, “How much does it cost?”||Constantly asks, “What is God’s will?”|
|Driving force: Meeting our needs||Driving force: Expanding God’s Kingdom|
|Priority on saving money||Priority on saving souls|
|Does not clearly see a worldwide spiritual battle to be won||Clearly sees the worldwide spiritual battle to be won|
|Goal: How little can I spend?||Goal: How much do I need to spend to win the battle?|
|Inward focus on clipping coupons, garage sales, thrift stores, and pinching pennies||Outward focus on intercession, evangelism, disciplemaking, and world missions|
|Setting of support raising budget as low as possible so they don’t have to raise much support||Setting of support raising budget as much as possible to maximize fruitfulness of family and ministry|
|In heaven, “Lord, didn’t I save you a lot of money?”||In heaven, “Lord, did I fulfill everything you wanted me to on earth?”|
|Values money over time||Values time over money|
|Does everything themselves||Delegates and contracts out as much as possible|
|Their small vision attracts small dollars||Their big vision attracts big dollars|
|Full of “poor talk” of what they don’t have and can’t do or can’t afford||Full of “vision talk” of what God has done and will do through their lives and resources|
|Supporters feel sorry for the Christian worker||Supporters admire and want to emulate the Christian worker|
|Supporters view themselves as “helping out” and “meeting the needs” of the Christian worker||Supporters view themselves as strategic “ministry partners” and receiving eternal ROI|
|Usually unwilling to ask others to give, claiming the George Müller approach is the most biblical||Always willing to ask others to give, claiming the D.L. Moody approach is the most biblical|
|Hinting and begging to supporters||Challenging and thanking supporters|
|Newsletters full of whining and hinting||Newsletters full of vision and changed lives|
|They feel limited in their family and ministry by lack of funds||They feel freedom in their family and ministry by abundant funds|
|Views the wartime lifestyle attitude as arrogant, wasteful, and luxurious||Views the simple lifestyle attitude as unnecessary, pitiful, and self-assigned poverty|
|Tendency: to get jealous or bitter at God and others for receiving so little||Tendency: to get prideful or self sufficient for raising so much|
|Saving and investing is worldly, fleshly, not trusting God||Saving and investing is biblical, wise, and being a good steward|
|Children usually negative about entering ministry or raising support||Children usually positive about entering ministry or raising support|
|Their ministry usually attracts very few followers and even fewer leaders and staff||Their ministry usually attracts strong followers, leaders, and staff|
|View of support raising: necessary evil||View of support raising: incredible opportunity|
|Man centered||God centered|
|Key verses: Proverbs 11:16; 21:20||Key verses: Ephesians 3:20, Philippians 4:19|
|Implication: God’s resources are limited||Implication: God’s resources are unlimited|
Now, my experience has been that when I present this chart to Christian workers (especially missionaries!) who raise their support they are either convicted or angry with me and deny any of this is valid. Whatever emotions you might be feeling right now, will you at least stop and pray for a moment and see if there is any truth or application here for you (or your family)?