Are You A Generous Missionary?

Excerpt from my travel journal

It was 7:30 in the evening, the last day of my New Jersey vacation, and I found myself at one of Newark’s finest restaurants—Burger King.

After placing my order, a 20s-something young man with a nose ring and stocking cap placed his order. But he was paying with a roll of pennies. My mind went to work, “This kid is broke.” As he was about to pay I stepped in and said to the clerk, “Let me buy this young man’s supper.” The young man smiled and said, “Thank you!” looking me directly in the eye. I liked him!

Just then a middle-aged woman came up—his mother. He introduced me and they invited me to join them to enjoy our Burger King supper together.

As we got acquainted, it was obvious they had a hard life. No husband or father on the scene, the son worked at the local plastics factory. They both seemed without hope and pessimistic.

I thought this was supposed to be good news! I’m not a bad person.

In my mind I wondered, “Shall I take a chance with the Gospel?” Apprehensively, I said, “It seems like you have had a tough time of it. What about your spiritual background?” Surprisingly, they eagerly shared their disappointments with family, finances and religion.

So, I took another chance. “May I show you a diagram that explains the Bible in five minutes?” They looked at one another, “Sure!”

The Bridge Diagram (available for download in resources)

The Bridge Diagram (available for download in resources)

I turned over the flimsy Burger King placemat and drew the Bridge diagram with Man on the left side and God on the right and a sin chasm in the middle. After I’d shared Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned” the mother blurted out, “I thought this was supposed to be good news! I’m not a bad person.” Her son nudged her and said, “He not talking specifically about you, Mom—we’re all sinners. Relax!” 

When we got to Jesus being the bridge over the gulf, they both seemed to understand, but the Mom repeated that she was “not a bad person.” And another nudge from her son.

“How to cross the gulf of sin to God?” They both said, “Good works—do good stuff!” Okay. “How many good works would you have to do?” I asked. No answer. “It’s like swimming to Japan from the San Pedro pier in California—how far could we get on our own ability.” We all laughed.

I closed with John 3:16 and drew the Cross of Christ as the Bridge. Then Revelation 3:20 about opening the door to Christ as He stands knocking. I suggested, “Why not today? Why not invite Christ into your life at bedtime tonight?”

The son broke into a huge smile and then the Mom. They grabbed my hands and thanked me. The son said, “I’m Bob and this is Sarah.” **Names changed for anonymity**

Why am I telling you this? If I hadn’t been up to budget I would not have spent an extra $7.50 for my new friends.

As missionaries we want others to be generous. We are even prepared to teach mini-sermons on giving—good! But how about us? If you are not fully funded you will hesitate to be generous. And generosity leads to opportunities for the gospel.

My missionary friend, the next time you are at Burger King (or any fine restaurant!) seize an opportunity to be generous and see where it leads!

If you are not fully funded, what will it take?