Giving to the needy within the church is a commandment for all believers.
But let’s be honest–some of us are more needy than others. This is particularly true in affluent America. Even in the small town in which we reside, many couples make up to $100,000 per year–far more than is required to live in our current cost-of-living situation. Paul has a word for those individuals and couples in 1 Timothy 6:
17 Tell the rich in the present age not to be proud and not to rely on so uncertain a thing as wealth but rather on God, who richly provides us with all things for our enjoyment. 18 Tell them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous, ready to share, 19 thus accumulating as treasure a good foundation for the future, so as to win the life that is true life (New American Standard, Revised).
Rich in the present age is a bit of a slippery description. Wealth is relative. While it is true that $1,000,000.00 per year is rich in any culture, $50,000.00 only lands you in the middle class in the United States. But Americans afflicted with affluenza should not compare themselves to the rich and famous of their gluttonous society. Rather, we should understand that $70,000, $80,000 or a six figure income is indeed more than is needed to both provide your needs and bless others.
And bless others.
That’s what Paul has in mind here in Romans 12 where he commands the Christians in Rome to “contribute to the needs of the saints.” Some saints have more than enough. Other saints had less than enough. IT IS THE RESPONSIBLITY OF MORE THAN-ENOUGH-SAINTS TO HELP THE LESS-THAN-ENOUGH-SAINTS.
If there ever was a theme in the Scriptures regarding how God’s people should use their money it is this: It is the responsibility of more-than-enough saints to help the less-than-enough saints. Notice the word responsibility. I deliberately chose that word over privilege. Our opportunity to bless other Christians is indeed a privilege since it is more blessed to give than receive (Acts 20:35). However, we must never consider our opportunities as options. We are commanded to alleviate the sufferings of the saints and to assist in meeting their needs.
Need more motivation?
10 So then, while we have the opportunity, let us do good to all, but especially to those who belong to the family of the faith.
You have to admit: the Bible is clear on this issue. We cannot sit by as fellow Christians have unmet needs when we have a GOD-GIVEN ABILITY to meet those very needs. It is the responsibility of more-than-enough saints to help the less-than-enough saints. If you have more than enough, it is for a reason. Pray for God to direct you as to whom and how you can bless. If you have less than enough, ask God to meet your needs and wait patiently as He puts the pieces in place to do just that.
For a great paragraph on this issue, navigate over to the Quick Takes page.