Since the time of the early Church, saints have had difficulty being alert to participating in the work of the Lord and supporting His workers. Paul says that only the Philippian assembly gave financially to provide for his practical needs as he went forward with the gospel (Phil. 4:10-20). Other saints and assemblies were dull to this opportunity to be part of God at work. The Philippian believers had interest and it showed in their investment in Paul’s labors. This action came from having hearts engaged in the gospel, being active participants in the gospel themselves (Phil. 1:5).
The Lord is interested today in people being saved through the gospel and being gathered into local assemblies. This is the work God is doing as seen in Paul’s first missionary journey (Acts 13-14). We should share the Lord’s interest and have His priorities be our priorities. If the Lord reviewed your life, would there be demonstrated proof that you have these as your priorities?
For the gospel to go forward, for new assemblies to develop, and for local assemblies to be healthy, saints need to invest in the work and its workers. Do we share this vision and enthusiasm, or has it waned? How about me personally? My family? My local assembly? May the Lord reinvigorate it!
We invest in what we find valuable.
Lack of investment shows lack of conviction of something’s value. Over the last five years, what sacrifice is in your life that shows you long for the gospel and assemblies to go forward for the glory of Christ? How much have you invested personally and financially? When were you last on the front lines of a gospel effort? How much does your local assembly invest financially in this work and its workers? What practical decisions have you made so you are able and available to be part of and support the Lord’s work?
We are to send workers forward in the Lord’s work in a manner worthy of God.
Some saints have gone out carrying the gospel, trusting the Lord to provide for their needs like Paul did. They have the same costs in life as all of us, plus additional expenses for travel and ministering, such as publishing materials, having meals with souls to whom they are ministering, or hosting events. We are called to participate in their labors by helping them forward. As we know, life in many parts of North America is expensive. If a worker received a five hundred dollar gift every week, the worker would have about $25,000 for the year before income taxes to provide for his family, home, utilities, vehicles, taxes, insurances, food, children’s education, medical expenses as well as ministry expenses. Is this support worthy of God?
Do we only give to a person when they teach our assembly? Should we not give to those who are on the front lines seeking to forward the gospel and pioneer for the Lord? If they must invest time to earn money, they have less time for proclaiming the gospel, meeting with people, developing teaching materials, and many other efforts in the Lord’s work. Do we see this work as valuable? If so, we will invest in it individually and corporately.
Alertness to others’ needs is difficult for us naturally.
However, The Holy Spirit in us can stir up this alertness. Further, we are told to think about one another to see how we can stimulate one another to love and works that bless (Heb. 10:24). May we imitate the Philippians who perceived Paul’s needs from many miles away and sent a valuable brother in their assembly to encourage Paul, as well as provide practical and financial help.
May our love and labor in Christ be stirred up! It is a wonderful joy to serve the One who loved us and gave Himself for us. May we be more alert to His present working! How good it is to be active participants in the work of God! Who are we to have such a privilege? What grace!
Could we be more alert to participating in and giving to the Lord’s work?
Have I been willing to take risk and invest time to help gospel and assembly-building efforts? How much have I given to saints laboring to carry the gospel forward and build up assemblies? Do I expect people to spiritually serve me at no cost to me? Do I try to get Christian materials at discounted costs, rather than give to the saints laboring to make the materials? When did I last give to a ministry which has been a spiritual help to me or someone I love?
Oh, to be more alert to the Lord’s work and more invested in seeing the gospel go forward and assemblies built up for the glory of the Lord Jesus! May our spiritual alertness show in real ways. May we not love in word only, but also in action. May our Father in heaven help us to think beyond our own personal circumstances. May our eyes see as God sees, and thus invest cheerfully and lavishly in the Lord’s interests today. What work or worker does the Lord want you to start participating in personally or giving to help forward? In what way does He want you to personally serve to help an assembly develop well for the glory of Christ? What front-lines gospel labor can you sacrificially join by God’s grace?
And let us consider
in order to stir up
love and good works,
not forsaking the assembling of
as is the manner of some,
but exhorting one another,
and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.