At our church, we try to follow seven basic principles of missions. Here is principle number two.
Principle Two: Make It Personal
In Matthew 25, Jesus describes those who will be sitting at His right hand in His Kingdom. Everyone else will not be a part of the Kingdom of God.
Jesus said, “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38 And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’”
Jesus spoke of the righteous as those who personally serve others. He kept repeating, “you gave Me” and concluded with the idea that “…to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.”
Unfortunately, there is a tendency to “de-personalize’ missionary work in our world today. Instead of personally giving someone who is thirsty water to drink, we contribute funds to dig a well or provide a water purification system.
Granted, not everyone can go on every missionary endeavor. What village can accommodate a church of a thousand? There will always be those who send and those who are sent. However, there should be a personal touch whenever and wherever possible.
In missions, we should do our best to make it personal.
For example, our church family felt led to help provide clean water to a village in Thailand. We partnered with two incredibly blessed missionary organizations, Zoe International and ITDP (Integrated Tribal Development Program).
One of Zoe International’s objectives in Thailand is “is to help rescue every child possible from human trafficking”. One of ITDP’s objectives is to provide clean water to villages in Thailand.
We partnered with both ministries to provide clean water to a specific village in Thailand. We sent four members from our church family to work with the “kids” from Zoe and the indigenous workers from ITDP to lay piping from a clean water source and build a tank to hold the water.
In the process, the team got to know fellow team members who are indigenous to Thailand along with the people from the village. The project became personal. We now have friends in Thailand with who we hope to do future projects.
When the team returned home and shared what they experienced, it brought tears to my eyes. Everything they did became more personal for me.
One of the goals of our church is to have 75% of our church family become personally involved in a missionary assignment… to make a missionary endeavor personal and up front.
In his book, Radical, David Platt shared that he took a missions trip to Sudan. While there, he had a thought what I have often thought. Instead of going on the trip, why not just give the $3,000 he spent on travel to the missionary work.
As he pondered the thought a Sudanese man told him something that had a lasting impact on Platt and, thanks to his book, on me. Platt was told, “A true brother comes to be with you in your time of need.”
In other words, whenever and wherever possible, we should send the greatest resource available at our disposable… ourselves. This makes missions personal. And whenever something is personal, we seem to do it better and with a heart that is learning to love.
Something to think about…