Christianity 201

February 2, 2016

Where Compassion Meets the Refugees – Part Three

In Part One, we looked at the similarity between some North American attitudes toward the Syrian refugee crisis and Jonah’s attitude toward Nineveh.  In Part Two we looked at the three categories of our financial blessing and how we’re commanded to allocate these. However, we stopped short of fully fleshing out the third category.

André Turcotte is a Christian & Missionary Alliance pastor and church planter, and a Canadian Armed Forces chaplain. What follows is adapted from his notes, and not word-for-word. (Some sections in parenthesis today are my additions.)

• • • by André Turcotte

Some of the help we’re able to give will come from this third category…

Margins

Leviticus 23:22 “‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the Lord your God.’”

(This should remind you of another passage, the story of Ruth and Boaz in Ruth 2.)

This is repeated in scripture:

Deuteronomy 24:19 When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. 20 When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. 21 When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow.

Leviticus 19:9 “‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10 Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the Lord your God.

(This of course bears on the broader topic of margin. Is there enough in your life generally? There should be some discretionary spending money in your budget.)

The problem is that instead of living with some margin or leftover, many of us are living financially beyond our means. (This would definitely include those who make only the minimum monthly payment on their charge cards, or whose cards are already maxed-out.)

In the New Testament Jesus takes it even further:

Luke 12:33 “Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it.

Remember the image of a wheat field from yesterday? Perhaps the most compelling argument for what this means is found in

The Principle of Sowing and Reaping

2 Cor. 9:6 Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”

All through scripture, God’s rewards generous, cheerful giving; again, not done out of compulsion or duty but joy.

But the natural human response is to say, ‘What’s in it for me?’

God’s blessing

8 (NLT) And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say,

“They share freely and give generously to the poor.
    Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”

10 For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity [NIV: righteousness] in you.

11 Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God.

(Note: This should not be interpreted as what is currently called ‘prosperity doctrine.’)

Though our motive should be giving joyfullly to the Lord, God promises to supply, multiply and reward those who are His generous stewards. God multiplies our giving for many purposes.

Multiple effect

12 (NIV) This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 

Generosity with our money in this instance helps the refugees, shows the unity of the Body of Christ, bears witness to Christ, honors God, and increases our faith in Christ.

 

3 Comments »

  1. Yes but Jesus said not to cast your pearls before swine and wise as serpants, harmless as doves. There are evil people trying to get into our country to do only harm. We do need to be careful. Christians are under attack in these countries people are fleeing and we are seeing the effects in Europe of allowing them in unchecked.

    Comment by David Crouse — February 2, 2016 @ 7:39 pm | Reply

    • I would like to think that with all we are learning about this, even in the last two years or so, our security people in North America are being extra vigilant.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — February 2, 2016 @ 7:45 pm | Reply

      • In light of what is going on in Syria and the great Moslem desire (as expressed by Islamic leaders) to conquer the world, and in spite of efforts made in various countries for Moslems to claim territory for their own, the Christian church and Israel have reasons to be concerned. HOWEVER, as believers we are not called to battle Islam but to share our faith as the Lord leads. The battle is the LORD’s and His purposes will be accomplished. Out task is to be Christ in a fallen world so the question that needs answering is, “What would Christ do?”
        Anyone who studies the Word can readily understand that very difficult times are ahead for those who claim faith in Christ. Although we should have peace in Christ, we will not have peace in the world. A time of suffering is ahead for all who would be faithful…this has been revealed. The battle is the LORD’s, however. What are we called to do today? My understanding is that we are to show the love of Christ…those who hang onto their lives in this world will lose them. Those who “love” Christ while trying to maintain comfort are not of His mind.
        Remember that the Jews were dispersed for God’s purposes. It is very likely that Islam is also. Is trouble coming upon the world? Absolutely! Will it come from Islam? Possibly. Should we hide in fear and take refuge in our own fortress. Absolutely not! The bottom line is this: God is in control and we are commanded to be obedient. How do you measure obedience?

        Comment by Russell Young — February 4, 2016 @ 10:25 am


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