ByFaith Media - ByFaith - By Faith
[  Home  About  News  Contact  Site Map  ]      [  TV  DVDs  Books  Mission  Store  ]

Economise to Evangelise

In January 2008, when I began a two hundred day mission down the East Coast of Africa, food prices were increasing by the month and within a year, the price of oil per barrel had more than doubled. The global economics of the basics of life had drastically changed thus putting millions of people in developing countries in dire straits. The news media reported global demonstrations and riots over the cost of staple foods and spiralling oil prices demanding that the government assist them.

The price of oil peaked at $147 a barrel and experts said it could go as high as $250, though by November it had dropped below $50 a barrel. The knock-on effect of increased oil prices is transferred to virtually everything, but especially public transport, and food distribution. For many, the financial crunch hit home and even in the West many of us began to buckle our belts and make saving as best as we could.

If the cost of living is hitting our household, then spare a thought for the missionaries abroad and other fellow labourers, many of whom have come to Britain to sow back into our needy land. How much harder must their struggle be?

On my return from the Africa Mission I was reading about the life of (James) Hudson Taylor who founded the China Inland Mission in the second half of the nineteenth century; the phrase economise to evangelise came to mind as he lived a very frugal life in order to be better equipped for his part in the Great Commission – ‘Go into all the world and preach…’

Hudson made cutbacks, he bought cheaper food, less coal for the fire and walked more frequently rather than take public transport. He economised so that he could not only survive, but thrive and evangelise. On occasions there was hardship as he took up his cross daily, but through them, his training ground, many life lessons were learnt which would be invaluable on the mission field.

His economising was with an eye to God heart – ‘For God so loved the world…’ and through Hudson’s lifestyle he was able show forth the practical love of God; not only in word, but in deeds as well. By his sacrifices he was able to be an extra blessing to the families he visited in the slums of London, assisting the poor, distributing tracts and preaching. His cutbacks also helped fund the extra expenses needed to pay his medical college fees and within two years he sailed for China (a five and a half month voyage) and arrived in Shanghai in 1854.

In China, Hudson was a medical missionary; but one who did not go with the flow. He lived to serve God, to serve the Chinese and came down to their level to identify with their needs. This self sacrifice of living in Chinese dwellings, eating Chinese food, wearing Chinese clothes as well as having a Chinese style haircut and pig tail was outrageous for many a European missionary who scoffed at the naïve lad in his early twenties. But his economising, in the midst of famine prices in Shanghai, not only saved the missionary society money, but opened many doors for itinerant and pioneering evangelism inland where the name of Christ had never been heard. He would go on to found the China Inland Mission (1866) and by the time of his death, he had over one thousand workers, with a CIM missionary in every province in China who were proclaiming the riches of Christ.

So, now that we are in the twenty-first century, what can we do? I believe we can all economise to evangelise and be better stewards of that which is entrusted to us. I believe we can all make cutbacks, even if only a little and use that money to help fulfil the Great Commission.

‘…It is required in stewards that one be found faithful’ (1 Corinthians 4:2).

For some, we may have to make saving just to pay our bills and should pore over our monthly finances to see what is an essential need and what is not. Shop around for gas, electricity, phone, internet, satellite or cable TV provider, car and home insurance etc. and big savings can be made. Likewise, when we go shopping we should also ask ourselves, is this item a need or a want? Do we need it because it is essential; we cannot do without it, or do I want this non-essential item?

Economise to survive to thrive and evangelise. Self-denial for the betterment of others is not only a good discipline, but the life that Jesus lived. Be imitators of Christ.

Mathew Backholer

Handling your Finances

The Great Commission


Mathew is the author of:
Revival Fire, 150 Years of Revivals Go
Extreme Faith, On Fire Christianity Go
Global Revival, Worldwide Outpourings Go
Discipleship For Everyday Living, Christian Growth Go
Understanding Revival and Addressing the Issues Go
Revival Answers, True and False Revivals Go
Revival Fires and Awakenings, Thirty-Six Visitations of the Holy Spirit Go
How to Plan, Prepare and Successfully Complete Your Short-Term Mission Go