30th June 2012
The Only Sensible Response – Giving
“distributing to the needs of the saints,”
Romans 12:13 (NKJV)
When Paul and Barnabas left James, Peter and John at Jerusalem, they asked only one thing of them, “They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do.” (Galatians 2:10)
Care for the poor was of prime importance to the earliest church leaders. It has always been a measure of the Christian. God has great compassion for those who are less able and vulnerable. He is the ‘champion’ of the needy.
The needy in the verse above are those in the faith, our fellow Christians. This encouragement is not just to look out for the needs of the members of our local church, although that is certainly included, it has a more far-reaching intention and this is evidenced by an actual situation recorded for us in the New Testament.
When Paul concludes his letter to the church in Rome he makes mention of help provided to the church in Jerusalem in Romans 15:25-26, “But now I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints. For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem.” Macedonia and Achaia are respectively northern and eastern central Greece, a very long way from Jerusalem. News had reached them of the needs of their brethren far off in Jerusalem and they responded with love and action. Church services are an excellent way of learning of these needs
Returning to the local church environment, needs are not always financial. Some of the greatest needs are friendship and fellowship. Loneliness is a twenty-first century disease. We need to be distributing more than money, we need to distribute ourselves, our love and concern, our care and friendship. Everyone has a need to feel valued and worthwhile and lonely people lack this touch from others that can say so much to them. We can distribute this sense of worth to others by giving them attention, engaging them in conversation, showing them that we are interested in them, we can include them in our activities.
If we don’t regularly attend a church we are denying ourselves and others the benefits of friendship and fellowship that are so important to our and their well-being, and we are certainly missing the opportunity to distribute to the needs of the saints, which in the face of all that God has done for us is our only sensible response.
Father in heaven, thank you for all you have done for me, for meeting all my needs, directly or through others of your children. Let me become one of those who distributes to the needs of others.
Study by David Stirk