The Finance Challenge – Mid-Life

On the first morning there he (John Kavanaugh) met Mother Teresa. She asked, “And what can I do for you?” Kavanaugh asked her to pray for him. “What do you want me to pray for?” she asked. He voiced the request that he had borne thousands of miles from the US: “Pray that I have clarity.” She said firmly, “No, I will not do that.” When he asked her why she said, “Clarity is the last thing you are clinging to and must let go of.” When Kavanaugh commented that she always seemed to have the clarity he longed for, she laughed and said, “I have never had clarity; what I have always had is trust. So, I will pray that you trust God.”

This is really an issue of trust. We tend to “trust” when things seem clear. That is not really trust. There is no risk involved. Risk is always present with trust. Consider this excerpt from Brennan Manning, Ruthless Trust:

In conversations, surveys, workshop questions and interactions with people across the country, consistently one of the top areas of concern is finances. What will I do for an income if I become involved in missions? What about benefits? What about retirement (whatever that is!)? Will I have to raise support?

As it turns out, for most of us, the first issue we dealt with, faith, is really the root of our concern about finances. Can I really trust God for my financial needs?

The type of missions work we are talking about is normally through a non-profit structure. In the ministry world, typically there is no product to sell in order to receive income. When a missionary arrives at his/her destination to touch lives for Christ, those needing salvation are not going to provide a paycheck so the missionary can witness to them. Throughout the entire missions enterprise, this is the norm for the financial bottom line. It is God’s design. So, funds for living expenses and their ministry expenses need to come from elsewhere.

Those working in the missions enterprise, like those working in churches, are depend on the people God has brought into their lives to give financially to meet the ministry and living needs of those giving of their time to do the work. In both cases we are giving to the Lord, but we are aware that the funds are to be used to meet the living and ministry cost needs of those doing the work. This is kingdom investing, Great Commission giving, sacrifice, sending, donating, and financial partnership.

However, one of the key differences is that the church staff doesn’t have to talk to the individuals in the congregation to receive their portion of the income. An offering is taken. The funds are divided according to the budget, salaries included. When serving in a missions role we need to talk to individuals and churches in order to discover the funds for the ministry, in other words, raise our support. Don’t be ashamed of giving the opportunity to people to partner with you. You will be surprised at those that cannot go, but can give, even sacrificially.

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