Those in Mission

Those in Mission

Words of Faith 9-12-19

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2019

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Philippians 4

[14] Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. [15] Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; [16] for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need. [17] Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. [18] I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.

 

     We are near the end of this Philippian letter.  It is has been rich and revealing.  There is no way to interpret the closing of this letter except to see the heart of a grateful missionary. 

     In these words, we suddenly see Paul not just as a founding Pastor writing to his former church to clear up theological arguments and local church squabbles. 

     Paul had gone forth from Philippi to do other work.  The Philippian church had been gracious never to forget their founding pastor turned missionary.  Over the years, they had sent much needed financial assistance.  At one point they were the only supporter on the mailing list who came through with a much-needed offering. 

     As we listen in, we sense that it was hard for Paul to be gracious without sounding like he was fishing for more.  Such is the nature of the "missionary letter.”  Being grateful without begging when there are always huge needs is tough. 

        As a pastor, I am absolutely convinced that the support of missionaries is a vital part of God's work.  Our church supports missions from tithes proportionately so that there is no blessing God gives us as a church that does not bless the Lord's missionaries.  The Philippian church is a great model because they not only supported Paul financially; they remained in very close touch with him. 

       It is a sad commentary that in many churches in America, many church members cannot even name their missionaries much less pray for them.  It is a little too easy to pay off our "mission obligation" with budgeted payments but never become involved in the genuine needs of a mission. 

       The truth is that I have never met a single missionary that had not discovered the life of contentment that Paul has described in this letter, but that also did not very much need additional support both financial and spiritual. 

       I think Paul's letter expresses the heart of Lord's missionaries:  gracious, thankful, joyful, content, and usually in need.  What are the needs?  Missionaries are in great need of prayer covering.  They face constant spiritual warfare.  They are in need of encouragement and friendship because of the lonely places they serve. 

       In a number of situations, God has called me personally to a ministry of encouragement and friendship to missionaries.  Life is hard in even the most modern of mission fields.  Missionaries need church support and financial care that allows the missionary to know that they are an extension of real people empowered by Jesus, the body of Christ.  Many missionaries also need support beyond the tithes of the local church.  We all should pray, as God blesses us, regarding an offering to a missionary beyond our tithe to our local church. 

       There are several missionaries on this E-mail devotion list in various parts of the world.  I hope we will stop and pray for them today. Oh, that we might all connect with a missionary somewhere in prayer and care who would be able to write, “... It was good of you to share in my troubles... you sent me aid again and again when I was in need. Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God..."

 

 

Lord Jesus, I pray for those who are laboring to carry your Gospel of love and care to a hungry world.  I pray for financial and spiritual and emotional needs.  I pray for encouragement and protection.  Build a hedge around these who labor for Your sake.  Specifically, I lift the missionaries who read this message today.  Lift their spirits in the name of Jesus.  Lord, call me to be accountable to my missionaries.  In Jesus' name.  Amen.

 

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, and our website, and our church app, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.  

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