Recently I was asked this question: Why would you spend a few thousand dollars on going on a mission trip when you could just send the money and have it go much further?
That was a pretty good question and I started thinking about it. I talked around it a little bit but this was something I really needed to pray about and be able to adequately communicate.
My first answer was easy. God had told me to GO. This wasn't an audible voice that I heard with my ears, but rather a verse that God gave to my heart.
"Go swift messengers to a people tall and smooth skinned, to a people feared far and wide, an aggressive nation of strange speech whose land is divided by rivers" ~ Isaiah 18:2
God told me to GO. He didn't say write a check... He said GO.
I was reading in Luke and was captivated as the words jumped off the page at me: Jesus told his disciples to GO! He told them to NOT take any money. (Luke 10: 3-4)
Jesus told His disciples to GO.
Then, by no coincidence (God is sovereign), I listened to a podcast by David Platt, pastor of Brookhills Church in Burmingham, AL. It was called "One Life With A Global Gospel". David told this story:
He was getting ready to take a $3,000 trip to Sudan. He knew this was a lot of money. Someone in the church came to him and said "Why are you going to spend three thousand dollars on a trip when you could just send the $3,000 and it could go a lot farther than you going there?
(Sound familiar? emphasis mine)
David says he wrestled with that.... until he got to the Sudan and spent time encouraging his Christian brothers and sisters there, sharing in their persecutions and struggles. One brother looked back at David and said, "David, over the last twenty years of persecution many different organizations have sent resources to us and we are extremely thankful, But, " he said, "do you know how we can tell who a true brother is? A true brother comes to be with you in your deepest time of need." He thanked David for being a true brother and at that moment it hits him... this is the very essence of the Gospel.
When God chose to bring salvation to you and me, He did not send gold or silver or cash or a check. He sent Himself. So how will we ever show this Gospel to the world if all we ever send is our money?
If we only send or spend our money we will miss part of the point of global missions!
Thanks to David for that awesome reminder. If only the Church in America would embrace it!