God has always provided the resources necessary for his work on earth.
Think back to the first job he gave anyone: looking after the Garden of Eden. He gave Adam and Eve everything they needed for that task – he’d just made it, it was perfect, and he gave it to them so that they could do this work with and for him. (Gen 2:15–22) It’s in his nature – God so loved the world that he… gave. (John 3:16; Acts 1:4)
Even the message of salvation and forgiveness that we have to tell is a free gift from God himself! (Rom 5:12–17; Eph 2:4–9)
And the beauty of the Bible’s story from cover to cover is that not only does God give generously and continuously, but he also gives in many different ways:
- He might tell his people, ‘I want you all to give this much.’ (Lev 27:30–33)
- Sometimes the message is, ‘Give to me the first and the best, however much that is.’ (Ex 23:19)
- Or even, ‘If anyone’s got extra, just bring it along.’(Ex 35:20–29)
Thus, from what he has already given them, together his people meet the need for resources for his work.
Or he says, ‘You go off and do what I’ve told you, and I’ll make sure you’re OK’ and uses wild birds to feed a tired prophet. (1 Kings 17:2–6) But then another day, it’s ‘I want you to ask that person, specifically, to feed you from now on.’ (1 Kings 17:8–16)
Or it’s just enough manna for today (Ex 16:18) or extravagant precious metals and fabrics given back to the God who had provided them in order to create a fitting place of worship (Ex 25:1–9) or a coin in a fish for taxes (Matt 17:27) – and oh how many other stories of abundant fish in the Gospels!
God is so creative in his provision. We’ve stopped expecting it to come in certain ways and try to enjoy the surprises. He's so amazing!
Jacqueline, working in administration in the UK
Or someone to whom God has given the ability to make money who uses it to provide for others. (Luke 8:3) Or it’s God’s people realising that in their new family of God there are others who don’t have enough to live on and collecting up money to send to them. (Acts 11:27–30; 2 Cor 8:1–5) And then realising that there are people out there who haven’t even heard the good news yet, and someone willing to go who they can help to send through their giving. (Phil 4:10–20)
How are Wycliffe personnel supported?
Everyone working with Wycliffe sees God providing for their own needs and for the work that’s going on. It’s always unique, so that we see it happening in different ways, but it always uses our God-given networks of friends, family and churches, as well as who we are and the way we tell the story of what God is doing in the world.
When I joined Wycliffe, one of my Wycliffe colleagues told me I would be surprised – there would be people I thought would join my support team who didn’t, and people I would never have expected to support me who did. They were so right.
So keep an open mind about how God will provide and through whom. He’s a God of surprises – prioritise prayer, practise generosity, and see what God will do!
Marie South joined Wycliffe from industry and has a leadership role with SIL, one of Wycliffe’s key partners
As a member of Wycliffe, partnership with a team of prayerful and financial supporters can be a joyful journey. You share with them about what God is doing in the world through Bible translation, what you believe he is telling you to do, and how they can come with you on the journey.
For them, getting to experience through their relationship with you what God is doing somewhere else is remarkable. For you, the relationships you develop with churches and individuals will bless and encourage you, as well as being the source of the prayer support and finances you will need – a visible expression of: ‘Yes, we want to be a part of what God is doing through Bible translation around the world, and we’re going to do it by backing you all the way.’
I had to make a significant financial decision recently... And it was not until I had made the decision that I had some commitments from some supporters that they would come alongside me in the purchase. Sometimes, we just need to move ahead prayerfully when we believe we have discerned God’s direction.
Catherine Young, Director, Global Language and Development Services for SIL International
We’ve discovered that focusing on what God is doing and the opportunity to join him in that removes the discomfort of ‘asking for money’. When you invite people to come on this partnership journey with you, you’re no longer asking for money to cover your needs (ie begging!) but you’re asking your friends to be involved in building God’s kingdom, together with you and the work that you’ll be doing.
People will catch your passion and support you as a person, not just the work you do. We've moved to different teams and countries, and changed roles along the way, and people keep saying they support us in our ministry with Wycliffe, not just to a specific country.
Hannah* joined Wycliffe over 20 years ago and is now involved in people care for a team in Asia
It’s not some kind of magic, though. God doesn’t give when you ‘get it right’ and hold back resources when you’re wrong, because it’s not about earning it in the first place! That’s why the journey metaphor is helpful. We’re ‘fellow labourers’ together with our partners, and parts of the road may be rocky or steep, as well as the bits running through green pastures. There’s God’s part, and there’s ours – communication with our partners about what’s going on, about what God is doing, and drawing them in to journey with us. But through it all, the message from history and from years of Wycliffe’s story is ‘God can be trusted’.
Sometimes I think it’s about the journey with God. He has your attention: what is it he is trying to say? This is not always the case; sometimes it’s just hard.
It’s as much a spiritual journey as a financial one – it can increase your trust and prayer life!
Keith Robinson, Director for Special Projects in the UK
Wycliffe begins the conversation with you right from the start about what developing this personal partnership team looks like for you. Using our own training resources or recommending other books and events, and keeping in touch as you look around you for the people God has given you, we will help you present to others, and live out, a biblical model of finance for ministry. When you’re on a difficult bit of the journey, we’re there to share encouragement and ideas with you and keep you on track. And all for his glory and so that everyone may have the opportunity to hear God speak to them in the way and the language that speaks to them best.
*name changed for security reasons