When faced with a task the first question usually asked is “What will it take?”. I’m not sure this is the best first question. Perhaps the best question to ask first is “Who will it take?”. Some undertakings require less people than others, but at some level, people are always either required and\or affected. Therefore, people are our most important consideration regardless of the task.
But you say, I’m a computer programmer, or an architect, or an accountant, I work by myself all day. Being a former accountant there were lots of times I worked by myself-just me and the numbers. But it took many of us, laboring seemingly separately at times, but actually working together as a team to fulfill our role in the “big picture” of the corporation. It took not only the right amount of people, but the right people.
Looking at the writings of Paul in the New Testament we see that this is very true in the life and ministry of the Church. I’m defining the church as it is articulated in the New Testament, as the body of believers working together to be ambassadors for Jesus, to be His hands and feet, loving and serving our fellow men, women, and children. (see how it is always about people) In this way the church, when healthy and functioning properly, fulfills it’s role in God’s big picture.
When Paul wrote letters to Timothy and Titus instructing them how to “do church” he did not focus on the building, the chairs, the carpet color, the sound system, etc, etc. He focused on people. He gave very clear instructions for the type of people who were needed to serve in the different functions of the church. He gave characteristics that each of these people should have and how they were to interact with others.
Does all of this mean the “things” are not important? Of course not. Depending on what country and culture you live in, some things will be more prevalent and important than other things. But behind the “things” are people. Buildings don’t pop up by themselves and sound systems don’t magically appear and function on their own.
When Paul and Barnabas left for their first missionary journey they were prayed for, commissioned, and sent off to go teach and serve other people. They were going to serve people and they were supported by many people while doing so. People were their focus but they had need of things too. The same is true for us as we go further on this journey God has set for us. The Lenca people are our focus, but we too have need of people to support us and for “things” that can be provided by people.
Our needs aren’t terribly different than Paul and Barnabas’ needs were; transportation, food, clothing and shelter are the primary needs. Paul and Barnabas needed money to pay for ships to take them across the Mediterranean whereas we will purchase some airline tickets and buy a pick up truck. Paul and Barnabas stayed in various places along the way but Jean and I will have a permanent dwelling where we will stay (most of the time). Food and clothes are food and clothes. If I (Greg) eat more like Paul probably did I’ll need less food and smaller clothes-these would certainly be good developments. But I digress.
Like Paul, we are seeking gifts from people to help us go further on our journey with God to Honduras. Like Paul, we understand how God’s economy works, meaning that the giver of the gift is blessed at least as much, if not more than, the recipient of the gifts. From personal experience we know this to be true and we desire the same experience for each one who joins us in support of our ministry. Also like Paul, we will engage in business activities to help provide some of our own support. When we help the Lenca materially nothing is free for them so it seems this principle should apply to us too.
The bottom line is that we need your help. We can’t do this alone. I was reading this week about Barnabus and Paul and it really hit home with me that mission work is the easiest act of obedience to God. The hard part is asking for help. Everyone who loves the Lord can play a key role in sending missionaries like us out into the field. Praying for us is pure gold, serving on a team with us in Honduras is incredible and giving to help us live and serve is our request.
Greg & Jean