Should missionaries express their thankfulness to their Home Churches? Pastor Jeff Jackson thinks so. A few months ago, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, he challenged all of the missionaries that SSMF serves with the following letter. We’ll be posting some of their responses in a few days.
Greetings SSMF brethren,
My thinking on the whole subject of thankfulness has been ongoing since I wrote what I did to all of you last week. And in doing so, I believe that the Lord would have me share with you another truth from His word on the subject, along with a few challenges for you to consider that spring forth from that truth.
Here’s the text I’d like you to consider:
Phil 1:3-5 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, 5 for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now…..
As all of you know, the Lord used Paul and Silas to plant the church in the city of Philippi, (Acts 16:11-40). When Paul and Silas departed from Philippi after the church had been established, this local church supported and encouraged him in his missions endeavours from that time forward. At the time he is writing the letter to the Philippians many years later, he’s in prison.
As you read the whole letter, it’s very obvious that the church in Philippi blessed Paul as if he was one of their own–as if they were his HOME church!
Over the years, I’ve used the book of Philippians as a model for how churches and especially the HOME churches of missionaries can and should express their love for their own members that God calls to the mission field.
With that as the back-story, and viewing the Philippian church as basically Paul’s HOME church, what you have in verses 3 and 4 is a missionary who communicates to his HOME church that:
1. Every time his mind thinks of them, he THANKS God for them (vs. 3)
2. And that he PRAYS for them (vs.4).
Think about that……the missionary thanks and prays for his HOME church!
I know literally hundreds of missionaries and I can count on my two hands the number of missionaries that I’ve heard tell me they’re thankful for their HOME church and/or that they pray for their HOME church.
Every missionary loves being thanked by their HOME church for their obedience and they certainly love and cherish being prayed for.
But for some reason the reverse is seldom true, or at least if it is true, it’s seldom communicated to the missionary’s home church or others.
So here’s are three things I would like to challenge you to do:
1. Ask the Lord to help you see how your HOME church has expressed His love for you through the church, and then give Him thanks for it.
2. Communicate your thankfulness in written form to the leadership of your HOME church.
3. Please strongly consider sending me a short summary of one or more of the reasons you’re thankful for your HOME church.
One of our goals in 2015 is to use our website and social media to highlight the various ways that HOME churches express God’s love through them to their missionaries.
Who knows, maybe your giving of thanks for your HOME church could be an example and catalyst for the HOME churches of other missionaries to be a blessing to them.
Or, perhaps when the leaders of your HOME church see how other churches bless their missionaries, the Lord will use that to challenge them to find new ways to bless you!