Some people might think that missionaries don’t have problems with materialism. After all, these are the people who have “given up everything” to move to a foreign country in order to preach the Gospel. Or, at least, that is the traditional way that missionaries have been viewed. In the age of globalization, however, the division between “home” and “field” is not so simple and the ease of communication and transportation can lead to heightened expectations for being able to maintain a lifestyle and standard of living similar to what you enjoyed in your home country. And that is a problem because it leads to disappointment, bitterness, frustration, a lack of satisfaction in one’s life and ministry, and in some cases attrition.
What is the root of this materialism? And how can we address this issue and keep missionaries on the field longer? I believe that the core issues are expectations and attitudes of the heart.