Shouldn’t parents support their children over foreign missions?

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By BibleAsk Team


The question of whether parents should prioritize supporting their children over giving to foreign missions is a complex and multifaceted one, touching on themes of family responsibility, Christian stewardship, and the Great Commission. While it is true that Scripture emphasizes the importance of caring for one’s family, it also calls believers to participate in spreading the Gospel and supporting God’s work globally. By exploring biblical principles, examining practical considerations, and addressing potential tensions, we can gain a deeper understanding of how parents can keep their responsibilities towards their children and their commitment to supporting missions.

Biblical Principles of Family Responsibility

The Bible teaches that caring for one’s family is a fundamental Christian duty. In 1 Timothy 5:8 (NKJV), the Apostle Paul writes, “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” This verse underscores the importance of providing material and emotional support for one’s family members, ensuring their well-being and flourishing.

Additionally, Scripture contains numerous exhortations regarding parental responsibilities towards children. For example, Ephesians 6:4 instructs fathers to bring up their children in the training and admonition of the Lord, nurturing them in faith and virtue. Similarly, Proverbs 22:6 advises parents to train up their children in the way they should go, so that when they are old, they will not depart from it. These biblical principles affirm the importance of family relationships and the duty of parents to prioritize the needs of their children, including their physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

Biblical Mandate for Missionary Work

Alongside the emphasis on family responsibility, Scripture also contains a clear mandate for spreading the Gospel and supporting missions. In Mark 16:15 (NKJV), Jesus commands His disciples, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” This Great Commission extends to all believers, calling them to participate in the mission of making disciples of all nations.

Furthermore, throughout the New Testament, we see examples of early Christians sacrificially giving of their resources to support missionary endeavors. In Philippians 4:15-16, the Apostle Paul expresses gratitude to the Philippian church for their financial support of his ministry, describing their partnership in spreading the Gospel.

Similarly, 3 John 1:5-8 commends believers who supported itinerant missionaries, demonstrating hospitality and generosity in furthering the work of the Gospel. These biblical mandates highlight the importance of global evangelism and the role of believers in supporting missionaries and missions organizations financially, prayerfully, and practically.

Balancing Family Responsibility and Mission Support

While Scripture underscores the significance of both family responsibility and mission support, navigating the tension between these two commitments can be challenging for parents. On one hand, parents have a God-given duty to care for and provide for their children, ensuring their physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. This responsibility may include meeting their children’s needs for food, shelter, education, healthcare, and nurturing their faith in Christ.

On the other hand, parents are called to participate in the spread of the Gospel and the advancement of God’s kingdom globally. This may involve sacrificial giving to support missionaries and missions organizations, praying for unreached people groups, and actively engaging in evangelism and discipleship efforts both locally and abroad.

Finding the right balance between these two priorities requires wisdom, discernment, and reliance on God’s guidance. While caring for one’s family is a primary responsibility, it does not preclude parents from also supporting missions. In fact, by modeling sacrificial giving and a commitment to global evangelism, parents can instill in their children a passion for missions and a heart for the lost.

Practical Considerations

In practice, parents may need to make intentional decisions regarding their financial resources and time allocation, taking into account the needs of their family and their desire to support missions. This may involve setting aside a portion of their income for mission giving, participating in short-term mission trips as a family, or actively praying for missionaries and unreached people groups.

Additionally, parents can involve their children in mission-focused activities and initiatives, such as supporting a missionary pen pal, volunteering at a local missions organization, or participating in a mission-focused small group or Bible study. By engaging their children in these experiences, parents can cultivate a heart for missions and a global perspective within their family.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the question of whether parents should prioritize supporting their children over giving to foreign missions is a nuanced one, touching on themes of family responsibility, Christian stewardship, and the Great Commission. While Scripture emphasizes the importance of caring for one’s family and providing for their needs, it also calls believers to participate in spreading the Gospel and supporting God’s work globally.

Finding the right balance between these two priorities requires wisdom, discernment, and reliance on God’s guidance. While caring for one’s family is a primary responsibility, it does not preclude parents from also supporting missions. Instead, parents can model sacrificial giving and a commitment to global evangelism, instilling in their children a passion for missions and a heart for the lost. By prioritizing both family responsibility and mission support, parents can fulfill their God-given roles and participate in the advancement of God’s kingdom both at home and abroad.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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