Developing Spiritual Disciplines
Don’t Forget Money Management
If God has called you to be a healthcare missionary, you are about to experience one of the most satisfying – and challenging – careers in the world. You will be a warrior for God in a hostile land. Like any soldier, you need a time of preparation – what the military refers to as “boot camp” – and that time should begin now, before you enter your mission field. An important goal of boot camp is to develop or reinforce lifestyle disciplines. As a healthcare missionary, those disciplines include daily Bible reading, prayer, fasting, serving others and financial stewardship or money management.
You may not have thought of financial stewardship as a spiritual discipline before, but it is an element of spiritual maturity that affects all aspects of Christian life. As a Christ follower, you should consider all your resources, including your very mind, to be owned by the Lord. He may allow you to possess or use material things, but ultimately all things belong to Him.
You should also realize that serving and giving can be hindered by financial debt. Debt of any kind commits you to another. Left unchecked, significant debt can influence or even control your career decisions instead of God. Yet you may be among the many healthcare professionals who must borrow significant amounts of money in order to complete their studies. If so, we want to encourage you to remain as debt-free as possible so you can serve God unencumbered.
Before taking any loans, we recommend that you develop and adhere to a financial control plan. Begin with a fairly accurate estimate of how much income you will have available from your student loan account, other income or savings. Then approximate how much it will cost you to live, based on your recent history adjusted to your current situation. Decide how you will disburse your income considering what percentages will go to tithing, taxes, debt repayment, living expenses and necessities, savings and lifestyle.
As you pursue your education, borrow the minimum amount necessary and only to meet your most basic needs. Although some may encourage you to live lavishly, if you believe God has called you to be a healthcare missionary, then you should begin developing a missionary mindset now.God wants you to learn to be content with what He has provided, not beholden to the things of this world.It won’t be easy. You will need great faith and trust to submit to God’s direction in managing your material resources. But be assured that when the Lord called you into healthcare ministry, He had already made a way for you to follow Him. For many healthcare missionaries, MedSend’s educational loan repayment grants are part of that plan. Whether or not MedSend is in your future, one thing is certain: the challenges of practicing financial stewardship as a spiritual discipline will be greatly outweighed by the freedom, joy and blessings that will result!
– by Rick Allen, President, MedSend
Start Living a Missionary Lifestyle
It is never too early to start living a “missionary lifestyle.” By that we mean:
- Missionaries buy what they need, not what they want. They want what they have. Missionaries can’t afford everything they want, but they can afford what they need.
- Missionaries use things up, wear things out, make things do, or do without.
- Missionaries have a conserver mentality rather than a consumer mentality.
- Missionaries don’t “shop.” They buy with a list of needs and don’t buy anything by impulse. Shopping leads to buying things you don’t really need.
- Missionaries always maintain the spiritual discipline of giving to God, but not with borrowed money. Sometimes they can only give by self-denial – giving up a necessity in order to give to God.
Demonstrate Financial Stewardship
The less you borrow, the easier it will be for you to enter full-time Christian service and lead a victorious Christian life. You will develop habits that insure a lifetime of financial success regardless of how much income you earn during your lifetime. Some tips:
- Borrow with great care and for needs only with a budget in hand. Typically, a person with a restrained lifestyle can live on thousands less than lenders recommend.
- To minimize educational borrowing, it often makes sense to attend the least expensive U.S. school you can, which is usually your state university. A conscientious student can get an excellent education in any licensed, reputable program.
- Always think about repayment. Begin making loan payments even before required – as soon as you earn your first dollar – if at all possible.
- Only use credit cards when absolutely necessary and never for long-term financing.
- Do not make financial investments while in debt, except for employer-paid pensions, IRAs and other tax saving or deferring investments.
- Trust the Lord to provide at every junction along your path.
- Do not use borrowed money for short-term missions trips
- If you have educational debt, we recommend limiting tithing to 10% and that you do not support other missionaries. Focus instead on debt-reduction.
Missionary Boot Camp Audio content of a seminar by MedSend President Rick Allen
Financial Preparation for Medical Missions & Students Audio content of a seminar by MedSend President Rick Allen
Educational Loans do not have to Dictate the Terms of Your Medical Mission Service Audio content of a seminar by MedSend co-founder Dr. David Topazian
How to be a Medical Missionary in spite of your Educational Loans Audio content of a seminar by MedSend co-founder Dr. David Topazian
Why This Matters
The situation is dire on a global scale. According to the World Health Organization (W.H.O.), the world needs seven million more healthcare professionals to meet for a minimum standard of patient care worldwide. 57 countries are at a crisis point, with fewer than 2.3 nurses, doctors and other medical personnel for every 1,000 people – too few to deliver even the most basic level of care. And the gap between number of patients and number of healthcare professionals is poised only to grow.
What MedSend is Doing About It
Bringing Hope to the World
Mobilizing Healthcare Workers to Serve Around the World (freeing them up and removing the greatest barrier)
Giving Hope to the People in the Field
Providing Medical Training and Discipleship while Caring and Encouraging the Person
Healthcare remains the only form of access as a Christian witness in many countries.
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