Years ago, a well-known televangelist was sentenced to 44 years in prison for taking the money sent to his organization for use in ministry and using it to support his own lavish lifestyle. (I have not used his name because he has served his prison time and also publicly confessed and repented.) To use for oneself what was given for others is stealing. It is illegal, unethical, and immoral. It is reprehensible. But how often do we do this with God's blessings to us?
When God promised to bless Abraham, He made it clear that the blessing was not just for his own benefit. "I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. ... And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (Genesis 12:2, 3). The Psalmist makes it clear that this pattern applies to all of us, not just Abraham: "God be merciful to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us that Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations. ... God shall bless us and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him" (Psalm 67:1-2, 7).
Both the words to Abraham and the lyrics of the psalm make it clear that the blessings we receive from God are meant to reach all the peoples of the world. We are stewards of whatever He places in our possession, managers of His estate for the purpose of making His glory known throughout the earth. To use His gifts for our own comfort and pleasure without thought of how to help others know Him and reverence Him is as surely a crime as that of any embezzler.
The first impulse of the child of God is to share generously. "Freely you have received; freely give," Jesus told the disciples as He sent them out to preach and heal (Matthew 10:8). When Jesus fed the five thousand, He gave the pieces of the five loaves and two fishes to the disciples who in turn gave to the crowd with the result that all were fed with plenty left over. And God was glorified in Jesus!
We are blessed to be a blessing. Let us pray today that God would make us as generous as He is. May we use what He has given us to make Him known among the nations.
The Purpose of This Blog
In response to the challenge by the Southern Baptist Convention that churches take on the task to share the gospel with unengaged unreached people groups, the missions team of Harmony Pittsburg Baptist Association felt the need for a way to focus prayer on the task. This blog is intended to facilitate prayer for those contemplating their role in fulfilling the Great Commission. This on-line prayer guide may prove useful to those exploring a call to missions involvement as well as to those who have sensed a call to pray for those who will go to the front lines.