My parents object to my becoming a missionary

Question:

Hi,

I am currently a senior in high school. I have been considering the idea of becoming a preacher some time in the future. I'm am considering doing some mission work before committing to the pulpit role. My parents are not in great support of the idea of mission work. They are concerned about how I will make a living during this time and how I will be able to fair monetarily.

I have stated to them that I am confident that if I am doing God's will that I will be taken care of in one way or another. Considering that we are commanded to teach all nations in Matthew 28:19, I see that God would aid me when following this command as long as I am faithful to Him and am doing His will.

Still my parents are concerned, even after I explained that the Bible states that we are not to worry about these thing, but follow God and the rest will come (Matthew 6:33).

I can find verses to back my position, but I would like a second take on this. Is my position a biblical one? I am not saying that everything will be all sunshine and rainbows, but God will take care of those who do His will. Still, my parents say I am too young and take an authoritative argument, saying I am just a kid and that my view of reality is twisted; however, when I search the Scripture I find that my view may not be as twisted as it may seem. I would greatly appreciate the feedback.

Love the website. I have used the question and answer forum as a means of great growth in my spiritual knowledge.


Answer:

Being a preacher myself, I certainly don't object to someone wanting to preach. Preaching is not about the money; in fact, those in it to make money are poor preachers. "If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain" (I Timothy 6:3-5). There are going to be times when you are going to short of income. In such times, you are still required to support yourself and your family. "For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either" (II Thessalonians 3:10).

Paul was supported by churches in his work, but he also worked when there wasn't enough money available. When he arrived in Corinth, he worked as a tentmaker (Acts 18:1-3). Later, when Timothy and Silas arrived (Acts 18:5), he focused exclusively on preaching. Paul's letter to Philippi gives us a hint as to why. "You yourselves also know, Philippians, that at the first preaching of the gospel, after I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving but you alone; for even in Thessalonica you sent a gift more than once for my needs" (Philippians 4:15-16). Likely Timothy and Silas, who had just come from that region, brought funds for Paul.

However, even in Thessalonica Paul worked. "For you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God" (I Thessalonians 2:9). Paul could have asked the Thessalonians to help support him, but instead chose to support himself to set a good example for the brethren there. "For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you; not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example" (II Thessalonians 3:7-9).

Thus, rather than saying "God will provide" and then do nothing, you need to do what you can and know that God will take care of the rest. Thus, I think you should have a plan for what work you are going to do when you don't have enough to live on.

In addition to this, I don't think it best to start out doing missionary work. I know you are young and don't have ties at this time, so it makes it easy to travel, but I wonder how much experience and knowledge you've gained so far. As a preacher, you are responsible for what you teach to other people, whether it is locally or abroad. Preaching in a missions area is generally more difficult. (I'm talking here about true missionary work and not the common: gather a dozen young people, travel to some exotic place, do some minor work around the place and then come home after two weeks or a month.) Have you thought about interning with a preacher for a year or so to get experience and then decide if you want to preach in a particular country? Even better would be to find a preacher who recently returned from the country you are interested in working in. Then you can learn about the culture and what topics are needed most in the region you want to go to.