|Volume 23 Number 11 November 2021
Martha Lynn Rushmore
“There are two types of missionaries – givers and takers,” my late husband Bob often said. What did he mean by this statement? He was talking about missionaries going into different parts of the world to spread the Word of God, and their supporters. The givers are those who can and will financially help support missionaries and their families in foreign and stateside missions. (When going into these areas, we need to teach brethren to support themselves in their local works as they become able.)
Because of Bob, we were givers. We would help support missionaries and some of our younger brethren and their families going to preacher schools. We were very fortunate in that we supported those who remained true to the Word and are still working for the Lord today. Without the givers, these men could not be takers.
After marrying Louis, we are now – takers – doing mission work. I love being a taker as we go into the countries of Guyana, South America; Singapore, Myanmar (Burma) and India in Asia. This has really been a wonderful privilege, made possible by the help of those supporting us financially. Without the givers, it would be impossible for Louis and me to go to these countries for our Lord with the Gospel.
In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus told the apostles, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you…” We call this the Great Commission because it was given not only to the apostles but to us today. We are to go teach, baptize and teach. There is no way we can all be goers or takers.
We are told in Mark 16:15-16, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” Thus, we are to go and teach the Gospel in foreign lands or even in our own country. Foreign and stateside missionaries take the Gospel abroad and at home, but we cannot all be takers. If all were takers, who would be left to send – or who would be the givers? Therefore, we need givers and takers.
Not all people are able to go into foreign lands or to stateside mission points to teach the Word of God. It takes both givers and takers to spread the Gospel of Christ all over the world. Please prayerfully consider being a giver or a taker.
The Trampoline of Life
A recent Facebook meme equated the teaching profession to a child falling on a trampoline and trying to get back up while the other children continue to jump. After some reflection, this feeling of helplessness is often present in the lives of Christians, as well. The world in which we live is filled with wickedness. Sin and temptation seem to be everywhere we look. Frequently, it appears the ones who turn their backs on God prosper while those who strive to obey God suffer. How can the Christian get back up when the world continues to jump on life’s trampoline?
First, the Christian must lean on God. Many times, we try to relate to the world around us through our understanding of the circumstances. However, Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” We cannot substitute our understanding of matters for God’s wisdom. Jesus taught His disciples to take their strength from Him. “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Many passages express the help and strength God will provide in times “of trouble” (Psalm 9:9; 20:1; 37:39-40; 50:15; 138:7; Proverbs 3:25-26; Nahum 1:7). “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).
Second, the Christian must look for the positives, including the final victory. When this life seems to drag us into the depths of despair from all the wickedness, we should focus on the advice Paul gave to the church at Philippi. “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8). Positive thinking improves one’s outlook on life. What is greater than thinking about a future home in Heaven? Jesus told His disciples, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3). Living in this ungodly world is not easy, but the reward for faithfulness is truly a positive. “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).
Third, the Christian must lend a hand to wavering fellow Christians. Those who struggle with the realities of living in this world often feel they are the only ones battling the works of Satan. The truth is everyone wrestles with something. Galatians 6:2 instructs Christians to “Bear one another’s burdens.” The Greek word for “bear” means “to lift, literally or figuratively (endure, declare, sustain, receive, etc.)” (Biblesoft’s). Christians should support one another. Romans 12:15 tells us to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” Multiple passages tell us to love each other (John 13:34-35; 15:12; Romans 12:10; 1 John 4:11). First Thessalonians 5:11 instructs Christians to comfort and edify (build up) one another. “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).
At some point in our lives, we all feel the powerlessness that comes with falling down on life’s trampoline. When we lean on God, look for the positive and lend a hand, we exchange helplessness for power. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Electronic Database. Seattle: Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, 2010.