As we get ready to love on the Armands this Sunday evening in launching them overseas for the global cause of missions, I want to reinforce from the Scripture why I believe it matters that we do this in a first class, all-out way.
In the book of Third John, the apostle commends his beloved friend, Gaius for his gracious hospitality toward missionaries in his midst, but then adds this encouragement in v. 6 – You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God.
The Greek word for send in the New Testament conveys the idea of fitting out with the requisites for a journey. Titus 3:13 may be the clearest embellishment to this idea of what it means to send: Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they lack nothing. Literally, diligently or zealously send them on their way. To what extent? See that they lack nothing. I like the ESV’s way of putting it – Do your best. And I’ll tell you why.
Back at 3 John 6, the apostle exhorts, You will do well (that’s his way of saying please, kindly, – it was a common idiom of the day) to send them on their journey IN A MANNER WORTHY OF GOD. That is why I entitled this article Sacred Sending. How should we send forth missionaries to their next assignment? In a manner worthy of God. As befits servants of God. As if we were sending forth God Himself. The way we treat missionaries says something about the way we treat God Himself. It is no small matter to consider whether or not we will do our best when it comes to launching the Armands out for the sake of the name.
At the end of John Piper’s book, Let the Nations Be Glad, Tom Stellar writes about this phrase:
This elevates the importance of sending as high as can be imagined. It is a commandment of God (notice the “ought” of verse 8). The reason we must send them in a manner worthy of God is that they go out for the sake of the Name. The Name of God is at stake in how we treat our missionaries. God is glorified when we support them substantially with our prayers, our money, our time, and myriad other practical ways (notice the “whatever” in v. 5). God is not glorified when our missionaries are simply a name on the back of the church bulletin or a line item in the budget.
So, dear ones, won’t you join us for the celebration send off this Sunday night (see details further in the enews)? Won’t you prayerfully consider what you might give toward their transition needs? Although they have raised the full amount of $5000 toward these expenses as required by Wycliffe, that does not include, for some reason, their travel costs in terms of air fare and luggage fees. Those amount to about $3000. You may give on Sunday morning or that evening if you have yet to do so.
Let us pray together that through our generosity we will send them on their way in a manner worthy of God so that they lack nothing.