An excerpt from Daring to Live on the Edge, by Loren Cunningham
In his excellent book Daring to Live on the Edge: The Adventure of Faith and Finances, Loren Cunningham addresses many challenges of stepping into full-time ministry. As the founder and director of YWAM (Youth With A Mission), Cunningham shares from his vast experience and from his heart as he encourages others to walk in obedience to God’s calling— whatever that may be.
For many of us, pride blocks us from being the receivers of generous giving. We would rather be self-sufficient. I have often talked with people who wanted to be missionaries someday— when they could pay their own way to go. But the sad fact is that even if you could manage to remain un-entangled with debt and find a way to bankroll your own work, you would miss the terrible-but-wonderful humbling heart link that occurs when people put money in your hand, saying the Lord told them to give it to you.
There is a special bond forever between you and the giver. You will care about and pray for the giver in a different way than you pray for those who have never given to you personally. You will also quite naturally want to share news with your giver about your ministry, reporting what the gift has done in the work of the Lord. And prayer will go up on all sides— the spiritual warfare that is necessary for anything to be accomplished. It might not seem possible to struggling missionaries or pastors, but if a giant foundation were to fund their work or some billionaire were to write out a huge check, it could be a death knell for their ministry. Missionaries need much more help than money. We need people backing us up, praying for the extension of God’s kingdom, engaging with us in spiritual warfare through their giving and intercession.
The giver is blessed in the process, too. Jesus told us, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6: 21 NIV). When we give our “treasure” to specific people and their ministries, our hearts are there with them. They may be halfway around the world in an area we may never visit— but we are closer to these people and what God is doing in that country because of our giving. This kind of heart link giving allows any Christian from any part of the world to “go out” and help fulfill the Great Commission. And it is God’s way of forging and strengthening relationships.
“Though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them.” PSALM 62: 10 (NIV)