Tea Bags for Missions?

In the book of III John (not the Gospel of John, but the book just this side of Revelation!), there is high praise given to the itinerant missionaries who were sent out by the Apostle John.

He tells Gaius—who had been given the boot by Diotrophes (the probable minister of Gaius’ church) for receiving these missionaries into his home—to hold them in high regard because they went out preaching in the Name of Jesus Christ, refusing to take anything from those to whom they preached. Presumably this was to keep down any accusations that they were just out to get money. That was a common charge against travelling Sophists, Stoics and other teachers of the day.

At any rate, he tells him that he did the right thing, that he will take care of Diotrophes when he comes, and that he should continue such good work.

He also tells Gaius that whoever supports such men would be considered as if they were themselves out on the field preaching alongside of them. To my mind that’s one of the great missionary texts of the New Testament—but one I’ve never heard anyone preach on in order to gain support for missions!

In the process, he tells Gaius to fit them out with all they need to be able to get safely to the next Christian’s house in the town to which they would travel afterwards—a common practice in the early days of Christianity.
And in doing so, he tells him that they should be treated as if he were he were treating God himself!

How often have missionaries been given crummy stuff from the “missionary barrel”—stuff you wouldn’t keep in your house anymore? I heard of some missionaries who were sent dried, used tea bags!

It would be well for those who give to think twice before sending their castoffs to missionaries. Give them good products—computers (brand new), clothes that fit and are up to date (or money to buy them)—that are a blessing rather than a disgrace. Treat them as if they were God Himself—after all, they go forth in His Name!


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