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Where is the Money of the Church Going? - Part 5


(Continuation of Part 4)

I think it is important for us to have a clear understanding of - “Who are the poor?” and “Who are the needy ones?” Describing this would help us to have a better understanding of this message.

Poor
Randy Alcorn is one of the prolific evangelical authors of our day. His ministry, Eternal Perspective Ministries, is dedicated to teaching and helping the poor in the world. His generosity is such that he gives away 100 percent of the royalties of his books to support missions, poor and other ministries. Now Randy cites the statistics that if you have sufficient food, decent clothes, live in a house that keeps the weather out, and own a reasonably reliable means of transportation, you are among the top 15% of the world's wealthy. If you have any money saved, a hobby that requires some equipment or supplies (fishing, hunting, skiing, astronomy, coin collecting, painting), a variety of clothes in your closet, two cars (in any condition), and live in your own home, you are in the top 5% of the world's wealthy.

So, what can be concluded about who the poor are? The poor are those who lack basic things to survive in this world, such as:
  • Food
  • Clothes
  • Good water
  • Shelter
  • Medicines…etc.
The Living God of the Holy Bible is very much concerned about the poor. He can be rightly called as the “God of the poor” (this doesn’t mean He despises the rich). It is written, “If you help the poor, you are lending to the LORD—and he will repay you!” (Pro. 19:17, NLT). Those who were fasting, praying and seeking the favor of God, the Lord rebuked them, saying, “Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-- when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?” (Is. 58:7) As Christ is the head of His body, the church, He wants His parts to get actively involved in charity, manifesting His love and compassion to the poor, especially to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

But here is a word of caution: beware of helping those who are physically fit and have opportunities to work but yet remain idle and beg others for help. Such ones ought to be taught the principle Paul laid: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat." (2 Thess. 3:10). Let us help the helpless, but not make those who can help themselves lazy.

Needy
Who are the needy then? Although the poor can be considered as the needy, the term “needy” may also fall in different categories. A needy person may not generally be a poor person but there are circumstances that unexpectedly come up, driving him/her into a difficult situation which requires help, such as:
  • Unemployment (no opportunity to work and earn despite willingness)
  • Sickness (no money to buy medicines)
  • Physical disability (loss of an essential part of the body, compelling to depend on others for help)
  • Loss of money or material things to provide oneself (due to natural disaster or theft…etc.)
  • Other unprepared, unexpected and emergency situations.
Remember, the point I am trying to make is how the money of the church, contributed for noble causes, can be used. If a person wants to individually bless someone with a gift, which may not be essential to survive (like phone, computer, vehicle…etc), that is something personal. Yet the church, without neglecting the poor and needy, can also contribute such things to support various ministries.

Missions and other Ministries
May the readers not misunderstand that I am only defending to help the poor and needy, thereby causing an impression that all the money of the church must be used only for such purposes. There are other needs too that need to be met, like supporting the Christian workers and other ministries that are focused on evangelism or counseling or apologetics or church planting or discipleship or bible translation…etc. There are varieties of ministries in the body of Christ and such services, done with great diligence and wisdom, ought to be supported.

By the way, when it comes to support the Christian workers, may we know that a person is truly a laborer in God’s service. It is saddening to see so many in Christian ministry, receiving good support, but without shedding sweat in their service to the Lord. I have observed that a person can be sincere, yet may not be a diligent worker. The Lord wants His servants to be diligent, not slothful. As Watchman Nee put it, “God’s servants are always industrious.” Being diligent isn’t being workaholic but giving oneself to labor within appropriate time and responsibility.

The often cited Scripture to support Christian workers comes from 1Timothy 5:17, “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.” It is noteworthy to mention that the word ‘work’ used in conjunction with preaching and teaching, emphasizes energy, labor, working to the point of weariness. (Holman New Testament Commentary—Acts. General Editor: Max Anders. Author: Knute Larson. (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000, pg. 226). It is the laborers, diligent workers, hard working people who deserve financial support. They are the ones who make a difference in expanding the Kingdom of God.

TO BE CONTINUED.....

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Comments

  1. Dr. David,
    Your comments here are cogent! I pray that many will awaken to the need for WORK, meaningful, results producing work and become uncomfortable with big salaries, big offices, big cars and big expense accounts based on titles....

    Let us pray that needs of the needy will become a priority for every real church in the world.

    Gerald

    ReplyDelete
  2. Stephen david!

    I hope that the Church of Jesus Christ is missing the heart of God i.e., welfare of the poor and needy. May the Lord convict and convert the Hearts as well as purses of todays churches in accomplishing God driven mandate.

    continue you good work of writing, as it is influencing the ones God really wanted, especially like me.

    blessings!
    Gnana kamal.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yes Gerald. It is all about priorities, and about maximizing the gifts God has entrusted to us, that we might feel compassion for those around us, produce eternal results, and present to the Father on that Great Day jewels that bring glory to His name

    ReplyDelete

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