Some Practical Principles Of Missionary Giving -- By: Alexander Jothiratnam
CenQ 4:1 (Spring 1961) p. 41
Some Practical Principles Of Missionary Giving
Velore, Madras State, India
A Difference Between Gifts And Support
There is a difference between Christian gifts and support that leads to dependence. Western churches in seeking to help those of us who are in need in the East should seek to help us in the best way possible to promote the work of the Gospel in our country. Just extending money is not always helpful, for very often Western money is more harmful than good if it is placed in the wrong fashion.
Rather than respecting the indigenous policy, the procedure among many missionaries in the past was support of national converts. After the Gospel had been preached by Western missionaries, the missionary made an appeal to the churches in the West for funds to help the new converts. After a while another appeal was made to the West for more funds to support the local pastor and to support the various institutional activities that were created. Thus the establishment of the work and of the local church were entirely dependent upon money from abroad.
We now need to realize that this is not a helpful method. Every time we support someone, we make that person to depend upon our support. Even though we may be supporting some good cause, we are making the new convert to depend upon us, and thus we actually weaken the spiritual and moral fiber of the new convert and of the new church. We kill the initiative of the converts and dull their sense of responsibility.
On the other hand, our Christian gifts should be ones that will help the one that receives, instead of making him to depend upon the one who gives. A very simple practical illustration may help in this connection. Immediately after my arrival in Denver, I was invited by the First Baptist
CenQ 4:1 (Spring 1961) p. 42
Church, Westminster, Colorado, to speak. Afterward we went to the pastor’s home for fellowship, and during the course of the conversation the pastor’s wife inquired about my children out in India, whether they get eggs every day. I replied, “No.” After a week, I received a check for $10 from that church, saying that the Sunday School had taken an offering to be sent to my wife to be used to get eggs for the children. My good wife, instead of getting a few eggs with the money, invested it to get chickens. Now the children get eggs every day, and occasionally eat chicken too.
After receiving the check in India, my wife sent a thank you letter to the church at Westminster, which was read to the members of the Sunday School. They may have been greatly pleased at the time, but most likely since have forgotten all about it. On the other end, the chickens ...
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