There is one week in the annual life of our church in which, for all intents and purposes, the real Brackenhurst Baptist Church stands up. The week of which I am speaking is the week of our annual World Outreach Celebration. This year, the event was from 11 to 15 September.
Of all the World Outreach Celebrations that I have attended at BBC, 2002’s was probably the most encouraging to date. Usually, a guest speaker comes out for the week but this year, for various reasons, I (for the first time) assumed the preaching responsibilities myself. For many weeks leading up to the Celebration, I wondered how well this would go down. I feared that many of our people would not come to the Celebration as eagerly as they usually do when a guest speaker is present. Yet as the week unfolded, my fears proved unfounded. During the World Outreach Celebration of 2002, the real BBC stood up to own the Great Commission as its personal responsibility. The spirit was electric, the fellowship wonderful, and the response to our missionaries tremendous.
At least, that was the way that I viewed things during the course of the Celebration. But, as we drew closer to the end of the week, I realised that it was time to put our money where our mouth was. Rather, it was time to put our treasure where our heart was; to put our wealth where our worship was.
When Abraham claimed God as his first love, God asked him to prove it by his willingness to sacrifice his only son. Abraham passed the test admirably when he physically took Isaac to Mount Moriah and prepared the altar on which he would sacrifice his son. Of course, God stopped him from doing this, but Abraham proved that his claim to love did not consist of empty words. His heartfelt passion was proven by obedience.
Malachi delivered a similar challenge to the Jews of his day, once again pointing out that sacrifice proves devotion:
“A son honours his father, and a servant his master. If then I am the Father, where is My honour? And if I am a Master, where is My reverence?” says the LORD of hosts to you priests who despise My name. “Yet you say, ‘In what way have we despised Your name?’ You offer defiled food on My altar, but say, ‘In what way have we defiled You?’ By saying, ‘The table of the LORD is contemptible.’ And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favourably?” says the LORD of hosts.
This principle follows in missions as much as it does in any other aspect of the Christian walk. If we truly have a passion for God’s glory and thus for the Great Commission, our money will be where our mouth is! In this study, we are going to talk about money. This is not, however, a fund-raising message. I am not asking anyone to deposit money into our banking account. I do not mean to place anyone under any pressure concerning giving. You will not read any emotional sob stories geared at getting you to give. Rather, this is simply the natural culmination of four successive studies centred on the Great Commission. We have been instructed, we have been edified, and I trust we have worshipped; our finances must now naturally follow.
If you have followed the Shining Light to the Nations series successively you will have learned of the need to rekindle your light (i.e. to return to the Lord as your first love). You will have learned of the need to relish God’s light, of your privilege to reveal God’s light, and of your responsibility to revere God’s light.
But there is one more issue that we must look at if we will do justice to our study on being a shining light to the nations. What is our responsibility to those whom the Lord has called to go to other cultures with the light of the gospel? What is our responsibility toward the missionaries of our churches? BBC financially supports seven missionary families. It is a great privilege to support those on the front lines, but with that privilege comes great responsibility.
We have the God-given responsibility to replenish the light of our missionaries. We must stand behind them and help them to reveal God’s light to the world. We must practically keep their lamps filled and their wicks trimmed so that their personal light burns bright. Only then will they effectively be able to shine God’s light on others.
At the end of our World Outreach Celebration each year, we take up a Faith Promise pledge, which is simply a financial commitment (above one’s tithe) promised, and given by faith, to God. It is given out of what we have with the faith that God will re-supply our needs. It is a commitment made to meet the needs of the faithful servants in God’s family (i.e. our missionaries). It is a commitment that results from our fellowship with God. We joyfully commit to give because of God who gave to redeem us. It is given firstly (as our priority), freely (as our pleasure), and faithfully (as our pattern).
Whether your church practises such a consistent method of giving to missions, or whether you practise missions giving another way, my goal in this study is to show you that your missions giving is about more than just funds; it is about fuel.
In approaching this vital truth, I want to look at a church, and specifically at a man from that church, who did what he could to replenish a certain missionary. The church was in Philippi, and their missionary was the apostle Paul. The man from the church who ministered to Paul’s needs was Epaphroditus (2:25; 4:18). As we study the man, the church and the missionary, I want to point out three truths that we must learn if we will replenish the light of our missionaries.
We Must Replenish Our Missionaries
First of all, we must learn of the need to replenish our missionaries. Paul wrote to the Philippian believers, informing them that he would soon send Timothy to minister to them. He also spoke of Epaphroditus, whom he had already sent to the Philippian believers.
Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need . . . because for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in your service toward me.
(Philippians 2:25, 30)
At first glance, this may appear to be a condemnation of the church. Paul spoke of “what was lacking in your service toward me.” But we should not interpret this as a lack of concern for the plight of the apostle. It is not as if Epaphroditus cared where no one else did. Paul wrote later of the church’s care for him and of their financial support when he needed it (4:10, 14-15). No, whatever was “lacking in [their] service” was due to inability rather than unwillingness. They were perfectly willing to help the apostle, but in respects were unable to do so.
In a very real sense, Paul was the Philippians’ missionary. Yes, he had been sent out by the church in Antioch and so, technically speaking, was their Antioch’s missionary; but there was a sense in which he was also the Philippians’ missionary. He had planted the church at Philippi and taught these believers the Word of God. He knew and loved them, and they in turn knew and loved him. And because of this mutual love, the Philippian believers communicated to his material needs.
Paul needed to be replenished, to have oil in his lamp. If we are not careful, we can read the Bible and hold Paul in such high regard that we begin to believe that he never struggled with anything; that he never required any encouragement. This is not the case. When he wrote to the Philippians, he was in prison in Rome. Perhaps his imprisonment was more of a house arrest than a proper imprisonment, but he was nevertheless in Roman custody and under constant surveillance. In New Testament times, when you were in a Roman prison, you had to provide for your own physical needs. This is why Paul pleaded with Timothy to bring a warm cloak with him when he came to visit (2 Timothy 4:13). It was drawing towards a cold winter, and if someone he knew did not bring him warm clothes, he was in for a very uncomfortable time. In prison, Paul required physical replenishment.
Not only did he require physical replenishment, but he also needed spiritual replenishment. He required fellowship as well as funds. His light needed replenishing, and thus he was overjoyed to be joined by Epaphroditus. Paul hints at this desire for fellowship in some of his other epistles (Philemon 1:13; 2 Timothy 4:9, 11). He was in dire need of replenishment and thus the ministry of Epaphroditus was as a breath of fresh air.
The Philippians, who recognised Paul’s need, immediately committed to coming to his aid. They were ever willing to replenish the light of their missionary. And they proved their willingness by practically sending someone to minister to the apostle.
The Philippian believers were committed to replenishing the light of one with whom they had a relationship. Their replenishing was a ministry of love to one with whom they had a relationship and who was faithful with the Word of God. Their material ministry took the form of a “love gift” rather than a “salary.” Support for missionaries is drive by love.
Before moving on, let me pause for three brief points of application.
First, we must understand that missionaries are our responsibility. Since they are a part of the Body of Christ, we have an obligation to love them and to aid them in their ministry. It is irresponsible and ungodly for us to send missionaries with our blessing without also providing for their physical needs. As they travel to another culture with the light of God’s Word, physical arise. We must do all we can to meet those needs.
Second, we must understand that our missions giving is an act of love in order to meet the needs of those whom we know and love, and who are faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ. If we properly understand this, it will challenge us to get to know our missionaries and their ministries. There is always a danger in a church that, because the missionaries minister elsewhere and are thus seldom seen, the members of the church fail to build a relationship with them and fail to express interest in their ministries. At the World Outreach Celebration, our missionaries are always asked to prepare an audiovisual presentation to update us on their ministry, and if possible, a ministry table to keep us informed of how their ministry is progressing. We do not simply want to give them more work; our goal is to help the people of our church to better understand and thus more intelligently pray for the ministries of those whom we support. We encouraged our church members to speak to our missionaries about their ministries and learn as much as they can about the ministries to which their monies are going. This is important for any church.
However, it is not enough that we know and love our missionaries; we must also ensure that they are faithful to God and His Word. We must be careful to support only those who are ministering biblically. The saints in Macedonia understood this when they sent an offering to the faithful church at Jerusalem (Romans 15:25-27). Giving to missions is right and is what God expects of all local churches, but arbitrary giving is not glorifying to God. If we are going to support a missionary, it must be a missionary who is committed to the preaching the full counsel of God (Acts 20:27). Our responsibility is to give to those who are faithfully involved in the purpose of God. Someone may have the title “missionary,” but is he doing the work?
Third, we must understand that it is our responsibility to keep their lights burning so that they might be busy about the Master’s business. Exodus 27:20-21 gives us a nice illustration of this truth:
And you shall command the children of Israel that they bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to cause the lamp to burn continually. In the tabernacle of meeting, outside the veil which is before the Testimony, Aaron and his sons shall tend it from evening until morning before the LORD. It shall be a statute forever to their generations on behalf of the children of Israel.
The lamp in the tabernacle needed to burn perpetually. There were no windows in the tabernacle and it was very dark inside. If the lamp went out the priests would not be able to see properly to perform their duties. Thus, the people were obliged to bring the oil to keep the lamp burning, in order to aid the priests in going about their God-given tasks.
Our missionaries have the God-given duty to make disciples of all nations. If their lights go out, they will not be able to focus properly upon this task. It is our duty to ensure that their lights remain bright, in order that they might faithfully continue in their God-given tasks. This is why we give to missions. This is why we pray for missionaries. We do these things because we understand that it is our duty to replenish our missionaries.
We Must Replenish with Our Members
Secondly, we need to understand our responsibility to replenish with our members. When Paul needed to be replenished, the Philippian church sent one of their members to him: Epaphroditus. They knew that it was not merely enough to supply funds, so they endeavoured to supply Paul with fellowship as well. Epaphroditus was sent with money, but he was sent also as a minister. Paul speaks of Epaphroditus as the Philippians’ “messenger.” The word is the Greek word apostolos, from which we derive the English word “apostle.” An apostolos in New Testament times was effectively the same as our modern-day missionary. Epaphroditus, in a very real sense, was a short-term missionary. He had been commissioned by a local church and sent out to minister to someone in need.
This church truly understood the concept of replenishing the light of their missionary. They were both sensitive and sacrificial. They were sensitive in that they understood that Paul was probably suffering a great deal and were sacrificial in that they sent one of their best members to minister to their missionary.
I firmly believe that local churches today need to do more for their missionaries than simply send money. A common misunderstanding is that if you send a monthly love gift to your missionaries you are automatically involved in the Great Commission. But Scripture requires far more than simply funding our missionaries. Our missionaries have needs other than financial ones. During our recent World Outreach Celebration, one of our missionaries thanked the church publicly for their prayers during his missions trips to Mozambique, and requested that the church continue to pray much for him. Another missionary travels often to various countries in Africa, ministering to the persecuted church. He makes it clear when he travels that he covets the prayers of the church. These are just small ways in which we can assist the ministry of our missionaries, being sensitive and sacrificial in our support of those who are involved in the Great Commission.
From v. 25, we can glean at least four important principles that we must heed if we will fully replenish our missionaries with our members.
First, we must walk alongside our missionaries. Paul referred to Epaphroditus as “my brother.” Notice what the Scriptures have to say about brothers. Proverbs 17:17 tells us, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Proverbs 18:24 also shows us the close relationship between brothers: “A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Clearly, when the Bible speaks of a brother, it refers to a deep, personal relationship.
We must learn to be brothers to our missionaries. Be a friend. Stand with them. Give them a phone call to find out how they are doing. If you are visiting the area in which they minister, pay them a visit and seek to encourage them in their ministry. They need Christian fellowship as much as any other member of the church; be there to minister to them when they are in need.
Second, we must work alongside our missionaries. Epaphroditus was Paul’s “fellow worker.” This church did not leave Paul to do all the work on his own. There was synergy: a group of people working in harmony for a common cause. Epaphroditus was not sent simply to take money and pat Paul on the back. He was sent to actively help Paul in his ministry.
Our missions giving is not a means of paying our missionaries to do all the work. We do not expect them to everything while we sit back and relax. Rather, we must be actively involved in whatever way we can. If there is a way in which we can help, we must gladly offer our people to be used of God in the ministry.
Those who are truly committed to God’s purpose will be truly committed to replenishing God’s workers. We show our commitment to the Great Commission by actively being involved in the ministries of our missionaries, doing what we can to aid them in their obedience to the Great Commission. Are you working alongside your missionaries?
Third, we must war alongside our missionaries. Epaphroditus was Paul’s “fellow soldier.” As believers, we must understand the reality of our spiritual warfare. Many books have been written on spiritual warfare in recent times, and much of the literature out there is far too mystical. But the reality of spiritual warfare can nevertheless not be denied. Observe what Paul had to say on the matter:
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
Paul often asked churches and believers to pray for him. He understood the reality of spiritual warfare and desired that other believers join him in the battle as he ministered the Word of God. The Philippian believers understood this principle and sent one of their own to war with the apostle.
Are we willing to war alongside our missionaries? One of our missionaries recently had something of a health crisis. He was first diagnosed with cancer, and once the treatment of that was successful, he contracted rheumatoid arthritis. For a long while before they eventually diagnosed him with arthritis, the doctors were stumped as to what was happening. For many months, he was immobilised by the pain that racked his body. He was consistently in and out of hospital and this caused great strain on him, his wife and his ministry.
When the health problems started, I was blessed to see our church rally around him in support. Prayers were offered, phone calls were made, letters were sent, and several of our members actually drove five hours to visit him. There was truly a spiritual war going on and our church was committed to warring alongside one who was on the frontlines of the battle.
A good soldier is always committed to protecting his fellow-soldiers and, if need be, to rescue them when they are in danger. We must be committed to taking care of our missionaries. When there is a health crisis in the family of a church missionary, are you committed to doing what you can to help? When there is a financial crisis, do you aid in whatever way you can? Are you willing to join the battle when things get out of hand?
Fourth, we must worship alongside our missionaries. Paul was able to say of Epaphroditus that he “ministered to my need.” The word “ministered” in this verse is a word that was used of the priestly service in the temple. When the priests ministered in the temple, it was to be done in a spirit of worship. Likewise, when Epaphroditus ministered to Paul, he did so worshipfully.
Our missionaries need to be ministered to by Christ-centred people. They need the blessing of a Christ-centred church. As we centre our lives and our churches on the Lord Jesus Christ, we will indeed be a great blessing to our missionaries. Indeed, the light shines furthest that shines brightest at home. If we want our missionaries to be shining lights in the communities in which they minister, we must be committed to be a shining light at home. If we are, then we will add fuel to the light of our missionaries and enable them to shine brighter than ever in a darkened world.
We must help our missionaries in their worship. A danger that we often face as believers is to think that missionaries are almost supernatural. Surely missionaries don’t struggle with the devotion to God? Surely missionaries don’t struggle with prayer? Surely missionaries can’t wait to get up early in the morning to read their Bibles? We almost picture angels coming down from heaven each morning to awaken our missionaries, imbuing them with zeal to live faithfully in God’s eyes. We must understand that our missionaries face the same struggles as we do when it comes to worship of God. And, understanding this, we must be committed to helping them in their worship. Perhaps it means purchasing a good book for a missionary. Perhaps it means offering them some godly counsel. Perhaps it simply means sending them an email, giving them a phone call, sending them a letter or paying them a visit. Whatever you can do to aid your missionaries in their ministry, do it!
As noted, Epaphroditus was effectively a short-term missionary. Perhaps we need more short-term missionaries in our churches today. Perhaps some of us should consider being sent by our churches to spend a few days with our missionaries, encouraging them in their work for the Lord. Missionaries are greatly encouraged in their ministry when church members travel to their communities to aid them in their work. I am not talking of going for a holiday, but of going with the express purpose of helping in whatever way you can; of going to represent your church and replenishing your missionaries by helping them in their work.
We Must Replenish with Our Monies
Finally, I want to turn our attention to our financial responsibilities to our missionaries and talk about our monies. This is an absolute must. If we are convinced of God’s purpose, then we will be committed to participating in it. Paul writes,
Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Paul thanked and encouraged these believers because of their financial aid. He did not harp on the issue of money, but neither was he afraid to mention it when it needed to be mentioned. We must be realistic: Missions requires money. If we will be actively involved as a shining light to the nations, it will require money—and God expects us to supply that money! God graciously supplies us with finances to meet our daily needs and requires that we, in turn, give to supply the needs of those who are serving Him on the mission field. Paul shows us six principles of financial replenishment that we need to learn.
First, we must replenish independently. Paul writes, “Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only” (4:15). This church was committed to replenishing their missionary independently. What do I mean by that? I do not mean that they would not allow any other church to support Paul. If we have a missionary that we can fully support without the aid of any other churches, I would still not discourage other churches from supporting him. I do not believe that we should seek to discourage other churches from supporting our missionaries so that we can support them on our own. This is not what the Philippian church did. What I mean is that they were committed to supporting their missionary even if no one else did. That is how we are to be. Regardless of what others do or do not do, we are to support those committed to the Great Commission.
The truth is, most churches are not involved in missions. But that doesn’t matter. God expects us to be involved in missions regardless of what others are or are not doing. Many believers refuse to give over and above their tithes. That doesn’t matter. God expects us to sacrifice for missions, and to do so regardless of how others behave. Most churches (even those who support missions) do not send their own as missionaries, choosing rather to send them to and through a missions board. Does that mean that we should join them in this? Certainly not! God expects us to be personally involved in making disciples of all nations. We are to be committed to raising up and sending out our own, regardless of the attitude of others. If everyone else refuses to obey, we must be committed to replenishing independently!
Second, we must be committed to replenish repeatedly. By this I mean that we are to replenish consistently. Paul put it this way: “For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities” (4:16). The Philippian believers did not send financial aid to Paul once and then, feeling they had done their duty, stop. Rather, they sent consistently to meet Paul’s needs.
Our missionaries have monthly bills to pay. They must pay water and electricity. They must pay rent. They must pay petrol. They must pay medical aid. They must buy groceries. Missionaries’ needs are not magically met each month without their own intervention. They receive the same invoices that we receive in their mailboxes, and have the same responsibility to pay these accounts—or face the same consequences. And in order to meet these financial responsibilities, they require the same money that we use every day.
We must be committed to giving regularly to meet the needs of our missionaries. If you make a commitment before God to give a certain amount to the missions ministry of your church each month, you are obliged to keep that commitment. “But the economy is bad!” you cry. Perhaps, but that only gives us more responsibility to meet the needs of our missionaries. When food prices go up for us, they go up for our missionaries. Let us be done with excuses! Let us be committed to fulfilling our monthly responsibility to give to supply the needs of our missionaries. As Paul says, let there be “an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack—that there may be equality” (2 Corinthians 8:14).
Third, we must replenish spiritually. Ultimately, our giving is to be focused on eternity. Paul said to the Philippians, “Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account” (4:17). I can’t explain all that this verse means, but I do understand this much: When we give financially to support missions we reap eternal, spiritual rewards (2 Corinthians 4:17-18). Our finances go toward the furtherance of God’s kingdom and, one day, we will see the result when we stand before the Father with all His redeemed ones.
Fourth, we must replenish sufficiently. We must make sure that all our missionaries’ needs are met. A missionary should never have to worry about where his next meal is coming from. He has far more important things with which to concern himself. We must ensure that his physical needs are met so that he might busy himself about his spiritual duties. The Philippian church understood this, and met Paul’s needs to the point where he could write, “Indeed I have all and abound” (4:18).
A missionary once returned from the field for a short furlough. When she visited her home church, she arrived in old, torn, dirty clothes. Her shoes were full of holes and nothing that she wore matched. At her church, people stared at her in disgust. When she stood up to report back on her ministry, she silenced everyone: “I notice that I am receiving some strange looks because of the way that I am dressed today. I’m only wearing what you sent me!”
Should we perhaps feel convicted? Do we send to our missionaries that which is useless? We often receive clothes from people to send to our missionaries. We actually have a church member who takes the clothes that are given and sorts them before sending them to the missionaries. If there is something that is badly damaged she throws it out. We don’t want to send our missionaries things that they cannot use. We must ensure that we are adequately meeting the needs that they have.
Where do we get the idea that missionaries should be poor? Why do we believe that they must always be praying to God to miraculously supply their next meal? God has given us the privilege of being involved in missions, but with that privilege comes great responsibility: the responsibility to sufficiently meet the needs of those that we send. Are we fulfilling our responsibility?
Fifth, we must replenish sacrificially. Paul writes, “I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.” (4:18). This is an astounding verse. Paul refers to the offering of the Philippians as “a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.” There is only one other place in the New Testament that refers to a similar sacrifice, and there it refers to God’s estimation of Christ’s sacrifice (Ephesians 5:2). Think about this: Paul was basically saying that the Philippians’ offering was as sweet to God as the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ! Why is this? Because, just as Christ sacrificed to fulfil the Great Commission, so our missions giving is to be a sacrifice in order to fulfil the Great Commission!
Our missions giving must be the result of our worship. The World Outreach Celebration at BBC is a week of worship because we understand that our Faith Promise giving must be centred on Jesus Christ. If giving does not flow from worship, we will not give. We will only sacrificially give when we understand the sacrificial gift of the Lord Jesus Christ and worship Him for it. Sacrifice always follows worship. When Abraham was going to sacrifice Isaac, he described it to his servants as an act of “worship” (Genesis 22:5). He viewed his sacrifice as worship, and if we will sacrifice faithfully for the Great Commission we must do the same.
I ask you then: Does your giving to missions accurately reflect your worship? Your fulfilment in your missions giving (or your lack thereof) is a direct indication of your worship. If you do not give, it is because you do not worship; and if you truly worship, you will gladly give. Are you giving sacrificially and worshipfully to fulfil the Great Commission?
Sixth, we must replenish faithfully. Paul concluded this section with these well-known words: “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (4:19). This is a well-known and well-loved verse, but do we understand the true import of it? God was saying that He will be faithful to supply our needs if we are faithful to supply the needs of those on the mission field!
Our missions giving is deliberately referred to as “Faith Promise.” This is so because our Faith Promise giving is about faithfully giving of what we have (not of what we hope to have) with the faith that God will resupply to meet our needs. This is true faith.
When God called Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, Abraham was willing to give what he had with the belief that God would resupply. Abraham did not wait for God to give him a second son before he obeyed. Rather, he immediately endeavoured to take Isaac and offer him to the Lord. And he did so with faith that God would resupply. He knew he was being called to kill his son, but when he spoke to his servants, he exercised faith that he and Isaac would return (Genesis 22:5). The divine commentary on this reveals that Abraham believed that God would raise Isaac from the dead (Hebrews 11:19). He had a need. If he was to be the father of many nations, he needed a son. Therefore, he had faith that if God took his only son, He would meet his need so that the promise could be fulfilled.
The principle is clear: If you supply, God will resupply. If you replenish, God will replenish. I am not saying that you must be ridiculous about this. If you earn R5,000.00 a month, don’t promise God R10,000.00 a month and expect Him to give it to you. You give out of what you have, and trust God to give back to meet your needs. Also, don’t give out of what something else should have. In other words, your missions giving is not a part of your tithe. Your tithe is ten per cent—the minimum that God requires. Your missions giving is over and above your tithe. That is true sacrifice, and is what God will bless according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
I have seen this principle lived out in the life of our church corporately and have heard many a testimony of it being worked out in the lives of individual church members. But most importantly, you have God’s Word on it! If you sacrificially give, He will meet your needs. This is not a wealth-health-and-prosperity gospel. You may not even receive as much as you have given, but you will not lack in anything. On that, you have God’s Word!
Keep in mind, then, that your giving is to be motivated by the Lord Jesus Christ. As you look to Him and trust Him, giving will naturally flow. You replenish the light by looking at the Light.