William Borden was the son of a Chicago millionaire who dedicated his life to world missions. His biographer, Mary Taylor, wrote that he joyfully gave away hundreds of thousands of dollars from his inheritance to Christian ministries.
After graduating from Yale University and Princeton Theological Seminary, Borden went to Egypt to study the Arabic language and Islamic culture. His intention was to live among the Muslim Kansu people of northwest China to bring them the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Sadly, after only four months in Cairo, Borden contracted cerebral meningitis and died at the age of twenty-five. The epitaph on his grave marker describes some of the sacrifices he made to bring the message of Jesus Christ to Muslims. The inscription ends with the phrase: “Apart from faith in Christ, there is no explanation for such a life.”
One does not have to be wealthy to have a generous heart for God’s mission in the world. If we have the same concern as the Lord Jesus, we will share his desire that people may be brought out of spiritual darkness into God’s light. We can help accomplish this by giving money to support world missions.
The Bible promises rewards for giving. Paul told the Philippian believers, “Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account” (Philippians 4:17). Apparently, God is keeping a record in heaven which takes into account our financial investments in his work here in this world.
I have a friend who has reached the stage in life where he could retire to a prosperous life, enjoying the American dream. He chooses to keep working, partly for the fulfillment it gives him, but mostly so that the wealth he is able to generate can be invested in world missions. His generous giving is funding important gospel work in Africa.
Don’t get me wrong. He and his wife are enjoying life. They have many interests. They live comfortably and well. But as he put it to me, their greatest source of satisfaction comes not from accumulating but in distributing the wealth God has entrusted to them. They are investing in eternity, or as Jesus put it, they are laying up treasures in heaven.
One way for you to obey the commission of our Lord to spread the gospel around the world is to designate a portion of your planned giving to world missions. This can be through your local church’s missions program or directly to a mission agency. If you are unsure about how best to do this, consult with your pastor.
By all means pray about this. Pray about how much the Lord wants you to give. Pray about where the Lord wants your gifts to go. There are hundreds of worthy missionaries and projects that depend upon the faithful support of Christian people. If you ask him, God will guide you. Generous giving to support world missions is a normal way for Christians to express their faith in Jesus.
When Bill Borden said he was going to be a missionary, one of his friends expressed surprise that he was “throwing his life away.” In response Bill wrote two words in the back of his Bible: “No reserves.” Upon graduation from Yale he turned down high-paying job offers. He then added the words: “No retreats.” When he died, friends opened his Bible to find that he had added the words: “No regrets.”
When we see our Lord face to face, we will not regret our investments in spreading his good news around the world.
Pastor Randy Faulkner