Should Missionaries Stay Poor / Are Missionaries Suppose to be Poor?
Should Missionaries Stay Poor? Many Christians fear to find out that God has called them as missionaries to parts of the world that are remote. This stems from the false belief that a missionary’s life is one of poverty and lack, all in the name of working for the Lord. But is this true? No.
God does not desire that anyone will be poor but have more than enough, for themselves and to share with others. God blesses us financially so that we can bless others who don’t have or are in need. God gave each of us the ability to produce wealth, and that was not so that we would remain poor.
“But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” – Deuteronomy 8:18
We have traditionally believed that fulfilling our divine purpose is a call to poverty and many Christians have come to accept this as the truth. We cannot separate what God has called us to do and the abilities He has given us. He wants us to prosper and that includes those He has called as missionaries.
A Lesson From the Apostle Paul
Paul the apostle moved from city to city preaching the gospel to the Gentiles. He was a missionary but one with a difference because He showed us a way out of poverty on the mission field.
Paul was a tentmaker and he made tents for others when he was not preaching the gospel. He did this so that he would not have to depend on others for his upkeep. This enabled him to pay his bills wherever God called him to go and minister.
“There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.” – Acts 18:2-4
Paul did not depend on others to meet his needs because he understood that God had given him gifts and he was to use them to generate an income.
God has also given gifts and talents to every believer He has called to be a missionary and they can use them to earn an income wherever they go. If Paul made tents and preached, we too can trust that God will show us how to meet our needs in the mission field.
Paul also showed us that when God calls us to be missionaries, He meets our needs. For anyone who finds themselves poor as they are doing the Lord’s work, then they need to ask Him how they can earn an income to cater for their upkeep. God is not expecting you to suffer because He already has a way of meeting your needs as a missionary.
“Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink the milk? Do I say this merely on human authority? Doesn’t the Law say the same thing?” – 1 Corinthians 9:6-8
Follow God’s Instructions
When a widow of a man who was in the company of prophets came to Elisha for help, he did not give her money but a divine idea. The woman had a huge debt and she needed to pay up before the creditor came to take her two sons away.
Elisha asked her what she had in the house and she said she had a small jar of olive oil. He told her to go and borrow jars from her neighbors and pour her oil into them and go and sell the oil and pay her debt.
“She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.” 2 Kings 4:7
The woman sold the oil and paid her debt and she lived on what was left. The woman followed the instruction Elisha gave her, and she was no longer in lack. In the same way, anyone called to be a missionary can follow the instructions God gives them to earn an income and even be in a position to bless those they have gone to minister to.
All we need to do is ask God instead of accepting a life of lack and poverty. He has the solutions and wants to give them to us. Like the story of Elisha and the widow, He wants to give every missionary a divine idea that will see the bills paid and needs to be met.
Your financial blessing is in the work God has called you to do, and if you don’t know how to meet your needs, pray, and ask God for direction. You can ask God any question you have about being a missionary because He is more than happy to answer you.
Jesus was on the mission field every day and had all His needs met. People assume that He lived a life of poverty because He moved around and did not have the property of His own.
The truth is that He had the money for His needs and those of His disciples. That is why Judas was in charge of the money bag. “Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival or to give something to the poor” (John 13:29).
When We Are Called?
Many people when God put it on their heart to leave their current life and take the gospel to others needing his help come from all sorts of backgrounds. I was a Plumber / Pipe Fitter. When we redirect our lives to serving him, he has promised to provide. As I continued Through life, Electrician, Maintenance Mechanic, I continued to learn skills as Darlene and I served in the kingdom.
As we follow God’s call, One Trait that I have found with all missionaries that now they serve God and he is directing their paths. It might be that we have times of prosperity, and are able to graciously help others. It might be at time we have much less. But Paul Expressed it this way. 2 Corinthians 6:9-11,
Fishermen – Matt 4: 21-23
Peter and Andrew were fishermen. When Jesus called them they were fishing. One of the Life Changing Things is that when you Make up your Mind to follow Jesus. It is Lifechanging. Your Direction Changes, Your Desires for your life changes, what once was all important and life consuming, is now refocused to serving a higher calling. Matthew 4:18- 22
Now instead of Fishing for Fish, They are now fishing for men. They were eating and selling fish, Now they are following a much Higher Calling. Seeking and Saving the Lost.
Matthew or Levi was a tax collector. Matthew 10: 3
In Todays occupations, he might have been an Accountant, he might have worked for the IRS as a profession. Maybe a Government Job, But on Listening to God’s Word from Jesus, he now feels that he will leave that security and follow the Lord. Complete change of direction.
Carpenter -Mark 6:3
Jesus was a Carpenter
Luke 6:15, Simon was a Professional Rioter
You Know if we were picking the people that we would ask to help us to save the world. We might question Jesus Choice, in Simon. But No Matter where we are at, who we are following Jesus Has the Ability to set us straight. Pull us from a life of wandering, trouble, fighting and opposition to one of a much nobler profession.
Physician / Doctor
Luke was from the Profession of a doctor. Probably like now is a very Respected and Well Paid Profession. Being a Doctor also show us alittle about Lukes Heart. The desire to Help others, is usually a strong motivating factor in the lives of Physicians and also Teachers.
Paul and Pricilla and Acquilla were Tentmakers, Home Builders, Romans 16:3-4, Acts 18:1-3
As we follow their lives of Missionary work, sometimes they were provided for by others. Paul received gifts from Philippians 4:14-18, and then when that was not there they picked up their tools.
Jesus Said God will Provide
When Jesus sent out his disciples he told them to take nothing with them. Luke 22:35, Following a life of serving God has Promised to Provide for us. Jesus life was not one of wealth, but a life of srving and seeking the good of others. He Put it this way.
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be loyal to the one and have contempt for the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. Therefore, I say to you, don’t worry about your life, what you’ll eat or what you’ll drink, or about your body, what you’ll wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds in the sky. They don’t sow seed or harvest grain or gather crops into barns. Yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth much more than they are? Who among you by worrying can add a single moment to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? Notice how the lilies in the field grow. They don’t wear themselves out with work, and they don’t spin cloth. But I say to you that even Solomon in all of his splendor wasn’t dressed like one of these. If God dresses grass in the field so beautifully, even though it’s alive today and tomorrow it’s thrown into the furnace, won’t God do much more for you, you people of weak faith? Therefore, don’t worry and say, ‘What are we going to eat?’ or ‘What are we going to drink?’ or ‘What are we going to wear?’ Gentiles long for all these things. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them. Instead, desire first and foremost God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, stop worrying about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6: 24-34.
It is not God’s will that missionaries stay poor because He has given them everything they need to meet their needs. The only way you can know God’s will for you as a missionary is to ask Him the questions that bother you. He will show you how He wants you to ensure that you don’t depend on others when He has a way for you to depend on yourself.