“Jesus came to them and said: I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth! Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to do everything I have told you. I will be with you always, even until the end of the world.” Matthew 28: 18-20 (CEV).
Jesus gives a fairly straight-forward command to his disciples. He said to them, “Go, and make disciples of all nations and people.” Wow, what I big command! Although straight-forward I do have one question regarding this text, “what does it REALLY mean to GO?”
I believe that what is being said is three-fold:
Literally, go into the entire world as a missionary to another country.
Figuratively, go into your world (your sphere of influence); preach the good news of Jesus Christ; and make disciples of the individuals in your homes, work-places, families, friends, and neighbors.
Implied, go by sending prayers and financial support to aid in the spreading of the good news to all corners of the globe both here and abroad.
I fully understand that life can be busy and some are unable to go into the world, but we should not let the busy-ness of this life keep us from offering our prayers and financial support to individuals that are doing the work of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Missionaries both here and abroad need financiers to support them while they do their work.
Paul teaches Timothy in 1 Timothy 8:17-18 (CEV) which says, “Church leaders who do their job well deserve to be paid twice as much, especially if they work hard at preaching and teaching. It is just as the Scriptures say, “Don’t muzzle an ox when you are using it to grind grain.” You also know the saying, “Workers are worth their pay.”
Wow, that really says something about how we should treat those who are doing the work of Christ! I’ve added some emphasis to this verse to draw out a particular idea. It says, “Church leaders who do their job well…” What does that really mean? For me, the meaning of the passage is simply that if a worker is putting their whole being into what they are doing and really preaching what Christ has laid on their heart then they should be worth twice as much. Ministry is not only preaching. Ministry is doing the will of the Father who has sent them. If the evangelist is really getting their hands dirty to lay the foundation of the kingdom of heaven then they are worth twice as much.
Giving is an encouragement to those who can’t go and still want to do something to build the kingdom of Christ and see lives changed. If you cannot go because of time, ability, or health issues, then, here is your chance to go! You can send one, ten, one-hundred, or one thousand dollars. If you don’t have much, give what you can, every penny helps to advance the kingdom a little farther.
“Jesus was sitting in the temple near the offering box and watching people put in their gifts. He noticed that many rich people were giving a lot of money. Finally, a poor widow came up and put in two coins worth only a few pennies.” Mark 12:41-42. Do you see what just happened? Jesus is sitting next to the offering plate and he sees many people putting in their tithes and offering.
Jesus brings the attention of his disciples to the rich people and the poor widow putting in their money. Notice what he says, “Then he said: I tell you that this poor widow has put in more than all the others. Everyone else gave what they didn’t need. But she is very poor and gave everything she had. Now she doesn’t have a cent to live on.” Mark 12:43-44.
The poor widow gave more than anyone else! How can this be? It seems a little odd, but maybe another interpretation of the passage might shed a little better light on the situation: it says that many gave out of their abundance, but she out of her necessity. Think about it this way: If a billionaire were to put in 1,000 dollars and an elderly widow living on food stamps were to put in a 5 dollars, then, the widow who had put in 5 dollars would have given a larger percentage of her income than the rich person thus being more generous.
That being said, every successful venture whether it be in the natural or in the spiritual requires financial support. Though the real fruit of ministry may lie in the spirit the necessity for a real, tangible, financial support is very real. The person who supports the mission organization here and abroad is just as responsible for the spreading of the gospel. Without your support the spreading of the Gospel would be more difficult although possible.
Opinion: What is your opinion of this passage? What does it mean for you to give your support to the ministry of missionaries and evangelists?