Christianity 201

September 7, 2014

Helped a Needy Person: Check

Filed under: Uncategorized — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:39 pm
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If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?  I John 3:17
 

Each month we refer back to the same month of the previous year to see what various writers we introduced here are currently thinking about.  This one is from Dwight L. MacPherson who blogs at Son of a Parson Ministries with something you just might want to forward to others.  To read this at source, click the title below.

Checking the Box Doesn’t Cut It

One of my childhood buddies shared a story with me about his church that punched me in the gut. It moved my heart. It convicted me. It made me think. So I’ve decided to share it with you…

My friend told me that at an evening service, the pastor asked every church member to write a need they’ve been praying about along with their name and phone number on a piece of paper. The pastor then had the members come to the altar and leave their written needs there. Then, at the conclusion of the sermon, he told the congregation to go to the altar and take someone else’s need… and meet it.

Wow.

One problem I’ve had with the Church is that I don’t think we do enough to meet the needs of our congregations. Sure, we anoint them, pray with them, but how often do we directly meet their needs? As a former church administrative assistant, Rebecca can attest to the fact that church offices are usually jam-packed with people who have very real and pressing needs. So this made me wonder… how often are church offices jam-packed with people desiring to meet the needs of others?

Feeling convicted yet? I know I am.

Thinking of my buddy’s story, I looked around at the congregation at our home church. I saw two men seated a couple of feet apart. I wondered… I could imagine one man crying out to God desperately for $50 to fill his gas tank for work the next week. The man beside him I imagined calling out to God asking Him how he could use the finances God had blessed him with to be a blessing to others.

The Bible tells us that the early Church met the needs of their members internally.Red-Pencil-checking-off-Boxes Acts 2:44, for example, tells us, “And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had.” Now before anyone draws from their extensive church history knowledge to tell me that the Jerusalem church was basically a commune due to persecution, my point still stands. The Church didn’t direct their Christian brothers and sisters to secular public programs, or simply give them a bag of groceries or gas voucher so they could check off a box for helping the needy. No, they genuinely helped one another and made sure everyone’s needs were met. Are we honestly doing this today?

So what’s the answer for the modern Church? Well, I think my buddy’s pastor has the right idea. We need to be more open with our brothers and sisters that we see Sundays and Wednesday nights. This requires for us to be intentional, willing to go out of our way to help others, and open to hear one another’s needs without judging them. I think this would be much easier in small churches, but in big churches, it could be tough. I love the idea of small groups meeting in homes during the week. I think this gives us a much better opportunity to cultivate healthy, “real” relationships. I think it could also give us wonderful opportunities to use our God-given resources and talents to help others. The thing is, it’s hard, and it can be downright messy. The question is: are we truly willing to roll up our sleeves and help our brothers and sisters in need?

In Christ’s perfect love,

Dwight

The Parson

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