The apostle John wrote three letters in addition to his Gospel and the book of Revelation. In his third letter he writes to his friend Gaius about a few issues. One of these issue is Gaius’ support for those who preach the gospel of Jesus:
Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.3 John 1:5–8 ESV
John is writing directly to Gaius. He commends him for supporting certain people who travel to preach the gospel, even though they were strangers to Gaius. He did not know them personally yet his love for Jesus and his gospel were such that he gladly supported these men and women in ministry. They had not received anything from the “Gentiles,” that is, from unbelievers. These men and women have relied entirely on the generosity of God through his people. John affirms to Gaius that “we”—he includes himself!—”ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.”
John was an apostle! He was one of The Twelve. He was one of those who relied on the generosity of God’s people, yet he includes himself among those who ought to support those whose lives are dedicated to vocational ministry. He’s specifically referring to those who travel. Missionaries. They have travel expenses and when they arrive at the place they are ministering they have living expenses. Since their lives are devoted to ministry, they have little time to work a regular job. While the apostle Paul often chose to not accept financial support, choosing instead to work as a tentmaker (see 1 Corinthians 9:1–14), he acknowledged the Lord’s intent that his people support those who serve vocationally.
In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.1 Corinthians 9:14 ESV
While this means financial resources, this is hardly the only support such people need. In his second letter to the Corinthians Paul wrote about the struggles he faced as an apostle, and reminded them of the help he needed:
You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.2 Corinthians 1:11 ESV
Let’s heed the words of the apostle John and the apostle Paul. As John told Gaius, we ought to support people like Kizombo and Wababili, who serve in Congo. We ought to support people like Jonathan and Noella, who serve in Italy. They labor for the gospel and we do well “to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God.” This certainly means we ought to pray for them, for fruitfulness in their work, for faithfulness in their walk with Jesus. It also means, as we are able, we ought to support them (and others) financially. As John wrote, by doing this we become “fellow workers for the truth.”
Let’s pray for our missionaries today. Let’s pray for God’s rich blessings on their lives, Let’s pray for those they serve, for God to move powerfully as he draws men and women to himself. Let’s pray that as they encounter obstacles and even opposition to the work they do, God will sustain them and encourage them and empower them to remain faithful. Let’s continue to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God.