Love is expressed, not only in spontaneous actions, but in scheduled ones. A husband who forgets his wife’s birthday has failed to express love as expected. A mother who serves no meals cannot make up for it with hugs. Spontaneous acts do not make up for neglect of the routine ones.
What about giving for the cause of missions? Some people give only when they “feel led” or feel especially touched by a need. Try maintaining the relationships of marriage, parenting, employment, or taxes like that. Surely your wife will understand if you pay the utility bills and take the children to school only when you feel led to.
The fact is that we schedule and budget our established priorities. Is extending the gospel one of your priorities? Shouldn’t it be?
I believe that monthly giving to missions benefits:
The mission: Regular income helps us better budget and use our funds, improving our stewardship. When a missionary has raised his support shares, we’re more assured of being able to send and provide for him.
The missionary: I believe that those who make the effort to send a monthly support donation are thinking about, and therefore praying for, the missionary as often as they give. And those frequent prayers are a blessing to the worker on the field!
The donor: In many cases, donors who make monthly contributions often end up giving more to missions (thus receiving greater blessings!) than if they gave larger offerings infrequently or when they “felt moved.” And forming the habit of monthly giving when one is young means that he probably will give faithfully all his life.
While expenses are more or less constant, income can fluctuate wildly unless there are a consistent group of people giving on a monthly basis. It takes a lot of stress out of a missionary’s life to know that regular, monthly share support will be there. It provides predictability to a very unpredictable world.
It is a step of faith for a mission to place missionaries in a new place. Having the commitment of God’s people to give regularly provides the basis we need to take that step of faith. It is the consistent monthly support over the years that has funded missions efforts for generations. While project-based gifts help to accomplish specific tasks, it is regular, monthly, committed giving that enables missions to build for the long-haul.
If mission support is only about finances, it might not matter if money is given monthly or annually. $20 per month or $240 per year is the same amount of money. However, mission support is about more than dollars. Because of that, I believe there is benefit to a program of monthly support.
The prayer support of godly people is even more important than the financial support. A monthly support check is a reminder to pray for the missionary we are supporting.
Missions support also includes emotional support. What a blessing when a donor includes a short note. When you are living far from home, Proverbs 25:25 becomes very real: "As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country."
While the financial impact may be the same, the ongoing prayer and emotional commitment of monthly support is invaluable.
If I may say so respectfully, God does not fly by the seat of His pants! In other words, He plans ahead. He does not work or pour out His blessings based upon the emotion of the moment. Are we not to reflect His image?
These foundational thoughts bring me to conclude that regular, planned, consistent giving reflects the image of God in our lives. To be godly giving, it must not be showy giving, mere emotion-of-the-moment giving, or on-again, off-again giving. As managers of a slice of God’s wealth, we must invest God’s money into ministries truly worthy of support.
Monthly offerings help ministries in planning budgets, projecting cash flow, and addressing other important systematized fiscal issues. Also, if it is more blessed to give than it is to receive (and it is!), then regular, consistent givers are blessed on a regular, consistent basis. In conclusion, regular giving is a WIN/WIN situation for everyone!
Regular missions giving is beneficial to the donor because:
- It motivates us to organize our personal budget biblically.
- It ensures a continuing priority of supporting "kingdom" causes.
- It reminds us of fellow Christian workers laboring in unseen and forgotten places.
- It encourages us to pray for those on the front lines who are enduring arduous challenges unique to missionary endeavors.
Regular missions giving benefits the mission because:
- It provides financial stability to undergird missionary undertakings.
- It allows the mission to allocate its resources with more precision.
- It enables superior stewardship of existing funds so as to avoid wastefulness and promote financial efficiency.
- It liberates mission agencies to broaden their vision and deepen their commitment to unreached people groups.
- It unleashes the missionary to focus on his calling instead of the worrisome lack of personal finances.