Sending Your BEST Will Cost You
If it isn’t a sacrifice to send a missionary from your church, you are sending the wrong person. It should be painful. They should leave a gap. If they are loved and an integral part of your church it will be difficult to send them off.
We wouldn’t say this out loud, but perhaps have thought that missionaries are people who couldn’t make it here in the States. Since no one would hire them, they became missionaries. The opposite is actually true. Paul and Barnabas were not losers. The Holy Spirit scraped the cream off the top of that church and thrust them out to the mission field. Can you imagine the void they left? What must it have been like for the church at Antioch that first Sunday after they set sail for Cyprus? They had just lost the encouragement and generosity of Barnabas. Paul was their chief theologian and expositor. This congregation would have desperately missed them and their ministry.
There is no doubt that sending a missionary from your church will be painful. That is why it is called sacrifice. When a church sends one of their members as a missionary, they are giving up someone to be a blessing to someone else somewhere else. The Apostle Paul exemplified the same heart attitude when he sent Onesimus back to Philemon. This runaway slave came to Christ and had become a wonderful team member for Paul. He was an essential team member for Paul who said he was “my very heart” (vs 12). Yet Paul was willing to send him away to be a blessing to someone else.
In his book “Gaining by Losing,” J D Grear says: “God calls his leaders, not to a platform to build a great ministry for themselves, but to an altar where they die unto themselves. This means sending out our best with abandon” (page 131).