By Bryan Nicholson
During these days of COVID when the world has been turned upside down I’ve noticed something somewhat precarious, although completely understood, in the church. With all of the uncertainty, new rules and just plain trying to figure out how to keep the doors open, missions has almost been completely forgotten. There is no doubt that a whole load of new issues has been dumped in the lap of every church’s leadership and I certainly commend you all in your ability to “roll with the punches”. However, it seems as though it was just a little too easier for our churches to shut off and shrink back into themselves.
So, how can we do better going forward? Step one in these new times and as much as I hate to say it the “New Normal” it will be difficult to find answers to all of our questions. God is still sovereign and so seeking His guidance is always the first step. We know that COVID didn’t catch him off guard so it’s very likely that we can depend on God to guide us through these new challenges.
I think Paul helps us to remember step two.
“…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 more than once when I was in need. 17 Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 18 I have received full payment and have more than enough. 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. 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”
Paul was going through a difficult time as it appears he wasn’t getting much support from any churches other than the Thessalonians. What we see is a mutually beneficial relationship. I really like Paul’s reasoning for why it’s important that the church continues to partner and support him though. “More credited to your account.” “God will meet all your needs.” This reminds me of the woman who gave all she had to the church. We think of all of these different reasons about why to give and I’m sure they are all valid in some way. But, she gave out of obedience. Our reason needs to be the same. We continue to focus on missions out of obedience not convenience.
Do you want God to meet all your needs according to His riches? Paul gives us the recipe. So let’s not neglect this fundamental aspect of the church because it’s hard or we don’t know how to do it. Seek God’s direction and ask us to help you figure it out. Let’s do this together.