Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Missions and the Economy

I recently read this post from John Piper's blog, in which he argues that "the worst of all times is the best of all times for missions." This is so, he says, for four reasons:
1) because tough economic times force us to be more dependent on God,
2) because our impact is increased when people see that we have sacrificed to serve them,
3) because people are more receptive when they see how uncertain life is, and
4) because difficult economic circumstances can make us more aware that material possessions don't possess true value, inspiring us to be more generous with what we have.

There is a lot of truth in what Piper says here. While the state of the economy is scary for just about all of us, frequently the most difficult circumstances are the ones that God uses to make the biggest impact. When we trust in Him, rather than ourselves, we frequently find that the results are beyond what we could have dreamed. He is, after all, "able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine" (Ephesians 3:20).

Actually, it seems that frequently our possessions get in the way of our generosity. Studies have shown that lower-income Americans consistently give a greater percentage of their income that those with higher incomes. When we have less, we know that we're trusting God for everything anyway, and we're less inclined to rest in the security of our possessions. We're more inclined to be like the widow in Mark 12:41-44, who gave all that she had to live on, trusting that God would provide.

Not only do difficult economic circumstances change our attitude and actions, but, like Piper says, they open doors for ministry that would otherwise remain closed. While stepping out in faith to do missions is frightening, we can rest assured that God will use our sacrifices.

I certainly hope that the economic climate improves soon, but, in the meantime, I don't want to waste the opportunities that we are being presented with. Whether or not the worst of times economically are really the best of times for missions, they are the circumstances we have been given. And God is faithful, in the worst of times and the best of times.

1 comment:

Daniel said...

"I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. If our charities do not at hamper us, they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditures excludes them."
- C.S. Lewis