Your Resource for Encouragement

By: Jill Briscoe

You and I are Christians today, because somebody somewhere left his or her family to come and bring the Gospel to America. An unknown. A Mr. or Miss Nobody. Maybe he or she never got back to the homeland. Maybe they never saw their families again. But you and I know Christ, and we’re going to heaven because somebody left his or her own family to make that possible for our families. There are some people in the Christian body gifted by God to be evangelists, missionaries, and traveling teachers. In our modern context, there are all of the above engaging I all sorts of travel who are called to be away from their homes to do kingdom work in order to finish the Father’s business.

Our job is to support those families specifically, to pray for them continually and sympathetically, and to fill up that which is lacking while they are away. Above all, we need to encourage them and not criticize them.

A man came a long distance to see me just after Stuart had left for a three-month trip. He was a godly man; in fact, he’d been one of the men who had encouraged us to leave the business world and go into the ministry in the first place. That godly man, whom we looked up to, came all that way to tell me, “Jill, this way of life you and Stuart are leading cannot be right. This is unbalanced.”

That did not help me. In fact, it just about finished me off because I was struggling anyway with what I needed to do; what I knew I had to do.

That very day a marvelous Canadian missionary happened to be visiting me. She’d come to keep me company, knowing that Stuart had just left. She listened very quietly to what this gentleman was saying to me. When he’d left, she said, “You know, Jill, don’t worry about it. I know you’re concerned about the children. What are they seeing? They’re seeing cost and sacrifice modeled.  They’re seeing two parents who love each other to death and hate to be apart but do it for one reason: it’s the right thing to do for Jesus. And these kids are absorbing all that.” I dared to believe she was right. I don’t think there’s any doubt about one of the reasons all our kids are in ministry today. They all modeled after us.

Just don’t expect the world to stand up and applaud. Remember that people thought Jesus was crazy. Not only did He preach a radical message of forgiven sin and new life, He lived radically, too. He drew criticism by just doing what He was supposed to do. When He stayed home and did the expected, He was fine. But as soon as He started the radical stuff they all said, “He’s absolutely out of His mind.”

So you’re not going to get any help from the world or even from church people sometimes. But remember that your resource for encouragement, courage, and strength is in the care and provision of God.

Jill Briscoe is the Founder and Executive Editor of Just Between Us magazine.