For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. (2 Cor 4:15)
If American missionaries that now serve in other countries were asked, the vast majority of them would say that the “holiday season” is the time of the year that is most likely to bring them to tears.
The ache that is the result of missing family is usually at its pinnacle during the 6 week stretch that begins with Thanksgiving.
If you’d like to be a source of encouragement to the missionaries you know during the challenging season that begins with Thanksgiving day, the first thing you can do is to let them know how thankful you are for their ongoing obedience to the costly call of God on their lives.
If you’d also like to encourage missionaries with a scripture that is relevant to them for this annually challenging season of life and ministry, feel free to pass on the following truths and missionary related thoughts taken from the verse above.
TWO TRUTHS EVERY MISSIONARY SHOULD KNOW
First–Paul wants the Corinthians to know that as God’s grace is extended or spread out to as many people as possible, it will provoke an abundance and an increase of thanksgiving to God.
In other words, thankfulness and the giving of thanks to God is the fruit, or the by-product of His grace being spread to, and received by an ever increasing number of people who haven’t yet tasted of it.
Second–Paul wants them to know that an increased, abounding amount of thanksgiving brings glory to God.
Said another way, Grace-fueled Thanksgiving glorifies God–it produces a unique reflection and revelation of who He is.
HOW THESE TRUTHS APPLY TO MISSIONARIES
Here are two of the ways I believe these truths apply to each and every missionary:
1. Their willingness to leave everything that was familiar and comfortable behind, to be present where they now live, and involved in the lives of the people they now live among, is actually God spreading His grace through them.
2. His grace, which He is spreading through them, (especially by their presence during the holidays), is provoking thankfulness from those they live among, which really does bring glory to God.
–For some locals, it might just be thankfulness to the missionary themselves for their friendship and kindness.
–For others, they might truly understand that by being thankful to and for the missionary, they are actually expressing thankfulness to God for His grace and love that they have experienced through the missionary’s presence in their lives.
Either way, here’s the reality:
Missionaries are His special representatives, spreading His grace to many.
And the Grace-fueled Thankfulness that is produced from those enveloped by the spread of His grace through their presence among the people He has called them to, IS bringing God glory!