Saturday, February 6, 2010

Who are the POOR we should give to???

Romans 15:25-26
Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the saints there. For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem.

The poor we are to seek to bless are believers! I suppose that many have given little thought to who exactly they should give to, it seems that most people look at something as 'giving' to be only a matter of choice as though the scriptures are silent concerning such things.
The truth of the matter is that the Lord is NOT silent about our giving, in fact the scriptures are very specific.

FIRST: Teaching Pastors

I Timothy 5:17-18
17The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 18For the Scripture says, "Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain," and "The worker deserves his wages."

Don't ROB the minister of a blessing because you think it your duty to IMPOSE on him, a choice that the Apostle Paul took, nor assume the role of God by withholding good from the man because you THINK it will be better if he is in want (poor). Take care of your Pastors and think how you can give to them. Not only are we to take part in ensuring that the basic needs of a church facility are met, but we are to bless those who have taken part in blessing us.
Even the elders who are not 'teaching' should be taken care of, especially if they have diligently given their time and energy to the work of the ministry ('direct the affairs of the church well').

This does not have to be limited to 'local church' elders either, it seems perfectly reasonable to support pastors by 'sending' them to plant churches worldwide. So we could certainly include 'Pastoral missionaries' (I classify this, because EVERYBODY and their mother claims to have a 'ministry', but the greatest NEED and the biblical model is for HEALTHY CHURCHES).


Consistent with the opening verse of this post, we are also told to:
Galatians 6:10Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
I hope it's not too difficult to see that the body of Christ is given preeminence, and since we are to give especially to the body of Christ, it certainly means we should give first to those MOST in need. The apostle Paul was no beggar, yet he did not shy away from encouraging the saints to give to the poor, nor remind them to keep their commitments.
BUT, concerning EVEN the giving to needy believers there ARE qualifications! The church is NOT to give to those who are able to be supported by other believers, for instance:
I Timothy 5:3-15
3Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. 4But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. 5The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. 6But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. 7Give the people these instructions, too, so that no one may be open to blame. 8If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 9No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband, 10and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the saints, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds. 11As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list. For when their sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ, they want to marry. 12Thus they bring judgment on themselves, because they have broken their first pledge. 13Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to. 14So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander. 15Some have in fact already turned away to follow Satan.

Now there are some SPECIFICS concerning support!!

LASTLY freedom:
Above and beyond such, we then have options as to where we should or want to give.

Regardless of our feelings upon the matter, especially if we've seen abuses or have been swindled, we must above all put such matters in God's hand. Our giving is also an act of faith, we give for Him!


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