“Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition.”

–Thomas Jefferson (Notes on the State of Virginia, Query XIX, 1787)

Jefferson spoke of government. The same principle applies to missions. The primary tool for creating dependence is money. This is true of governments, who take it from the citizens to distribute according to what will give them more power. This is also true of missionary agents who, though in good conscience, become power brokers who eventually suffocate their own designs by methods that undercut their objectives. Against the argument of the good done by monetary support on the mission field are the countless churches who never wean themselves from looking to the paternalistic spout, the workers who line up in hopes of better support than their compatriots could ever provide them, and the sprouts of ambition watered by prospects of salaries from overseas.

If ever a quote fit the missionary enterprise, this one does, without removing a word. Think of that when you consider putting national workers on American salary and providing national churches with support.

J. Randal Matheny

Be pithy.

What do you think?