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There is a subtle mindset which can creep into our thinking as missionaries and social activists.

We can begin to think that there are those who are called to go, and those who are called to give.

Jesus himself said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:37-38

Historically this view has played out in multiple ways.

In his book, Futureville: Discover Your Purpose for Today by Reimagining Tomorrow, Skye Jethani recounts this path through history.

Eusebius taught a two class style. He said there is the perfect life (ministry) and the permitted life. All those not called to a “full-time” ministry emphasis could engage in vocations which were permitted.

The Protestant Reformation brought reform to this with the understanding that God is glorified in all areas of life – including work. This resulted in a dedication to work which was called the Protestant work ethic.

As a believer, a dangerous belief lurks nearby desiring to take root in our hearts.

It’s subtle. It creeps in and begins to affect our emotions and our thoughts.

Entitlement.

Phrases which start with “I” and include verbs like “deserve”, “am owed”, “expect”, and more.

This false belief rears its head in many ways, mostly subtle, but poisonous.

It’s a cancer

I want to discuss this in the context of missions, but it applies to all believers.

Here are 6 Signs of Missionary Entitlement. 

1. I’m obeying, so God must….
I’ve seen people use missions as an attempt to earn the favor of God, or worse manipulate Him to get what they want. Too many missionaries are serving out of guilt or a need to feel worthy.

In our prayers we approach God with an attitude which says he owes us. After all, He is very aware of the sacrifices we are making.

This post represents an open discussion between missionaries and the local church. This does not come form a place of anger or bitterness. My goal to bring awareness.

We have two incredibly supportive churches behind us. When we share the concern and care these churches show to our family, our peers are stunned.

I have posted on the danger missionaries face when we feel entitled to the support of a local body. Today I would like to turn my focus to the second half of this relationship.

As a veteran of missions for over 20 years, here is my encouragement for the body of christ about their care of missionaries.

5 Ways the Local Church can serve a Missionary:

1. Communicate
It’s often lonely on the mission field. I remember calling home collect in the middle of the night when I happened to find a phone. Now with technology, we literally are always available.