Here's to the Helpers
Blessings often come in the form of brethren (Acts 28:15; 2
Corinthians 7:6), but they come in things brethren do as well (Acts
4:34-35; Galatians 6:1; Hebrews 13:16). With regards to his work of
spreading the Gospel, Paul made special note of those who helped in
his work. Please notice some of the things he said:
But I rejoice in the Lord greatly, that now at length ye have
revived your thought for me: wherein ye did indeed take thought, but
ye lacked opportunity.Ye did well that ye had fellowship with my
affliction. And ye yourselves also know, ye Philippians, that in the
beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church
had fellowship with me in the matter of giving and receiving but ye
only; for even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my need. (Philippians
So that ye became an ensample to all that believe in Macedonia and
in Achaia. For from you hath sounded forth the word of the Lord, not
only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place your faith to
God-ward is gone forth, so that we need not to speak anything. (1
The work of spreading the Gospel is important. Paul not only gave his
life to it, he also commended those who supported Gospel preaching.
Much has been done in our generation to spread the Gospel in many
different places. The success has been such that, as one brother has
noted, the sun never sets on the Lord's kingdom. However, as in
Paul's day, the spread of the Gospel has not been effected only by
those involved in actual mission work, those who have supported these
efforts have also played a major role. We seek to detail their
contribution herein. Let us first note how congregations have helped.
The Contributions of Local Churches
Much has, of necessity, been written about the unscriptural way many
churches of Christ have used their money. Also, some conservative
churches have simply been content to keep their money in the bank.
However, many churches have done neither of the above. Rather, they
have been part of the present efforts to carry out the great
commission. Their efforts exemplify several things:
Local churches at work in foreign evangelism. Churches in the
first century set examples that should be followed today (Acts
13:1-3; 14:26-27; Philippians 4:15-16). It takes some planning for a
church today to responsibly use its resources in this area.
Information must be gathered concerning the prospective worker to be
supported and the country wherein he has chosen to labor. The degree
of commitment (How much? How long?) must also be factored into the
equation. Some churches have contributed to the work of publishing
literature in the language of a given country. Sometimes brethren
must do without improvements to their meeting places or be content
with unpaved parking lots, or perhaps members must do such local
maintenance themselves in order to continue the support of
evangelists in the field. In countries all over the world, much
fruit has been born to the Lord by churches involved in foreign
evangelism. May their tribe increase!
The faith involved in such work. When Antioch sent forth Paul
and Barnabas it was a simple work of faith (Acts 13:1-3). They knew
that the Lord had called these two men to his work. Similarly, it
takes faith for churches to support foreign work today. Isaiah wrote
in the long ago, "For as the rain cometh down, and the snow
from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and
maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower,
and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of
my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish
that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it" (55:10-11).
Simple faith in the power of the Gospel is manifested when churches
support faithful men in their work of proclaiming it (Rom. 1:16). We
commend the many churches for the faith they have shown in their
support of Gospel preaching on foreign soils.*
Showing love for all men. It is often said that the golden
text of the New Testament is John 3:16. This verse shows our Lord's
love in all its grace, sacrifice and mercy. This is also seen in the
command to take the Gospel to all the world (Mark 16:15-16). He wants
all people in "all nations" (Matthew 28:19). When churches
determine to follow our Lord they are not only manifesting faith in
him, they are also manifesting his love to those to whom they reach
out. Further, some churches have contributed to helping needy saints
in various places. The scriptures teach this is likewise an act of
love (2 Cor. 8:8). In places where darkness and sin have
abounded grace is now abounding through the love shown by churches
supporting the preaching of the Gospel. Good works are being done to
the praise of our God (2 Cor. 9:13).
The Contribution of Individuals
In reading the reports of other men and in my own experience in
foreign work it is striking how much has been done by individuals to
support the spread of the Gospel in foreign countries. Not only do
many brethren send one-time or steady support, individual Christians
have helped in a variety of other ways as well. Much of this is
logistical support such as taking care of the financial affairs of
men working overseas or mailing out a given brother's reports. Still
others have contributed computers, helped with printing literature,
mailed needed supplies, etc. These brethren teach us some lessons by
The nature of true riches. Paul charged the rich (and brethren
in the U.S. are rich compared to others in this world), "that
they do good, that they be rich in good works, that they be ready to
distribute, willing to communicate" (1 Timothy 6:18).
Christians who support foreign workers are following these words from
Paul. They are thus "laying up in store of themselves a good
foundation against the time to come" (1 Timothy 6:19). It
is hoped that such brethren will "not be weary in
well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not"
(Galatians 6:9). May more brethren follow their example!
Setting a commendable example. A number of individuals in the
New Testament are commended for the help they gave to Paul in his
work (Romans 16:3-4; 2 Timothy 1:16-18). These brethren, appearing in
holy writ, are examples for us to follow. Likewise, brethren who
follow in their footsteps today become examples for others. Following
such examples today will lead to more souls being saved. We
commend these brethren for their efforts!
We are thankful for churches and individuals who have given their
time and resources to help further the Gospel in other places*. We
pray you will not grow weary in your efforts. All cannot go and
preach the Gospel in other countries. However, as we have shown in
this article, all can do some thing. Those of you making such
contributions as we have detailed herein exemplify this. May the Lord
bless you in all your efforts in the Gospel.
* Indeed, we are thankful for all efforts put forth in the service of
Christ, but the emphasis of this feature in Watchman Magazine
is on foreign evangelism.
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