Not “give and take” but give and give

DSC_0414Dear Friends of the Church in Cuba,

Ministry is not an exchange. It is not a transaction. The people being ministered to do not — and cannot — contribute toward the cost of the blessings that are provided.

One example: our book sets that are handed out at each conference. A five-book set costs between $10 and $15 for us to produce. That’s pretty inexpensive! In the US just one book can cost more than that. For a pastor or church-planter making as little as $12 per month, though, it is an investment in his theological education and devotional life that he cannot afford to make.

The same arithmetic applies to everything we do in Cuba. Our new strategy for pastoral leadership development, which we call Bible Training Workshops, is both meaningful and inexpensive. It is a lot of “bang for the buck” as they say. Nonetheless, the pastors who attend could not afford to cover the cost of $9 per person. It would be a week’s salary for even the highest paid pastor I know. (I do not know of any pastor from any denomination who is paid more than $27 per month by his church.)

So, you see this is not a “give and take” endeavor by any means. It is simply “give and give” (followed by step two, which is to repeat step one). It reminds me of when the Lord washed the disciples’ feet but nobody washed His. No one even offered. He gave, He served, and there was no immediate reciprocity.

That is the ministry you and I are called to. If it were “give and take” we would have our reward in full, here and now. In contrast “give and give” sets up an account for you with the Master of the ones who have received. The Master will repay you, in time. And, oh! how He will repay!

Thank you for making our “give and give” ministry possible in Cuba. The people we reach can only repay us with smiles and grateful hugs. It is your financial support that makes possible this fulfillment of the Lord’s words in Luke 14:12-14:

When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your… relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment. But when you give a reception, invite the poor… and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.

Thank you for supporting world missions!