In the history of the RCA, hundreds of people have given everything they had to serve in mission. What are the rest of us called to give?
[John and Harriet Scudder; photo courtesy RCA Archives]
One summer during college, my friend Fred and I were working at camp and decided to spend the weekend at my parents’ house. At church that Sunday, the offering plate was heading our way when Fred realized the only cash he had was a $50 bill. He had planned to give, but hadn’t planned on giving all he had.
Sacrifices. We all make them. Or do we?
In 1819 John and Harriet Scudder made a sacrifice. They left their family, their friends, their work, and the security of home to serve in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) as the first RCA missionaries. Since then, hundreds of others have made immense personal sacrifices to serve in the name of Christ across the world.
God calls some to leave everything for the mission field. But what sacrifice are the rest of us being called to make?
There’s a story in the Bible that might give us a clue. In Luke 18 a rich young ruler comes to Jesus, wondering what it will take for him to inherit eternal life. The young man already keeps all the commandments.
“There is still one thing lacking,” Jesus tells him in verse 22. “Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” Jesus asks him for real sacrifice.
God has entrusted significant resources to each of us—time, talent, and treasure—which we can use to support others. Mission coworkers are able to serve because we, their partners, make sacrifices.
The sacrifices we make are different than those they make. We can pray for them, email or write letters of encouragement, serve on short-term mission teams, or give financially. All of these sacrifices on our part allow them to serve.
When we make these sacrifices of our own, we’re reminded of the great but worthwhile cost of following Christ in mission. As we hear stories of mission coworkers across the globe, making real sacrifices for God, we must ask ourselves, “What sacrifice will I make?”
As it turns out, my friend Fred was prepared to sacrifice. He put the bill in the offering plate. And guess who had to pay for gas on the way back to camp?
Editor’s note: RCA mission coworkers do not receive support from assessments. It is only the generosity of people, churches, and businesses that makes their service possible. To partner with RCA missions, visit www.rca.org/mission, email email@example.com, or call 616-541-0886.
Ken Neevel is director of development and facilitation for the RCA. “More Than Enough” reflects on issues of faith and stewardship.