This is an article from the January 1986 issue: Donald McGavran

From the Director

From the Director

One Third Times Three

I have written about the "One Third Times Three" plan in the past several issues of Mission Frontiers. "One Third Times Three' is a call to take a first step toward living a missionary lifestyle living on two thirds of one's salary for three months and giving away the other third to missions.

The growing list of participants signified by the information in Figure 1 raises many fascinating thoughts.

First what kind of people are participating? There is one medical doctor. There are three pastors. Six other Christian workers. Note the foreign addresses: these are three missionary families (who are already on a reduced level). 'Not many mighty"

From the letters that have accompanied the gifts it is obvious that One Third Times Three is no easy thing to do. It seems that those with smaller incomes are more able or at least more willing to respond to this challenge than those with larger budgets. Yet it is also obvious that the vast majority of American families are so deeply in debt and have so many obligations that what we are talking about is virtually impossible shots of a general revolution in spending habits.

But to me, the most fascinating thoughts have to do with the future:

If these 40 became 400 pastors, each with 9 other families in their churches following suit, giving one third of their income to the mission cause for just three months, that amount of money could pay off our campus.

Far bigger than that: When we fast introduced this challenge three issues back (write for reprints and more detailed discussion) we were saying that year after year $500 million could be generated for the mission cause if just one family in the U.S. for each American missionary family overseas would deliberately adopt a missionary lifestyle and level of expenditures.

One of the greatest intellectual and spiritual challenges for American Christians has to do with responsible, Christ like handling of theft discretionmy wealth: theft time, money and opportunities.Ironically, it is the wealthier members of our Christian family who have both the larger opportunities and the bigger problems. Because of investments, it is apparently much more difficult for a wealthy person to make money available for the Lord's cause.

Moreover, a larger income is often accompanied by more time spent earning and investing it. Thus less time is available to figure out how to use it effectively in the Lord's work.

People who earn a fair amount of money in an eight hour day from Task A, and then, in their off hours, undertake an additional task B, in which they try to earn stilt more, may indeed earn somewhat more, but in the process they may use up the crucial time they might have had to make sure they give their extra money effectively. Relatively few Christians concentrate on investing their money in Christian causes that are outstandingly crucial. How many for whom Christ died "no longer live unto themselves but unto Him who died for them and rose again" (II Cor. 5:15)?


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