In Your Bible Read This Out Loud: James 2:14-17
Memorise This Verse: Galatians 6:10 ‘Let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers’
Afterwards Talk About This: Why does the bible place such an emphasis on giving to our fellow brothers and sisters.
Something To Do Before Next Time: In prayer, ask God to show you a brother/sister in Christ, who you can minister to.
Written Diploma Work: Write on side on the arguments that we should show favouritism to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
Meditate Word By Word On This Verse: 1 John 3:17
Finally, one last area to look at is the giving of money to fellow Christians the 3 scriptures below are quite hard to read sometimes and they expand the same principle namely, that one of the marks of a true Christian is that they will seek to bless fellow Christians who are in need, (notice that the word ‘Brother’ is used in all of them).
It is also worth remembering that the biggest section in the whole bible on giving (2 Corinthians 8:1 – 9:15) deals with the issue of taking an offering to the impoverished saints in Jerusalem.
Matthew 25:40 ‘Whatever you did for the least of these brothers you did for me’
James 2:15 ‘Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him “Go, I wish you well keep warm and well fed”, but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it’.
1 John 3:17 ‘If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him’
In the Old Testament there are even commandments that instruct the people of God to virtually show economic favouritism towards their fellow Jews against any aliens in the land. For example, in the scripture below, not only does God command that fellow Jews should be treated differently to foreigners but there is a promise that he will bless people who do so!. Consequently, we should be going out of our way to extend as much generosity and goodwill to our fellow Christians as possible.
Deuteronomy 23:20 ‘You may charge a foreigner interest, but not a brother Israelite, so that the Lord your God may bless you in everything you put your hand to’.
Jesus himself encourages the principle that we should seek out and bless our fellow brothers and what is more he promises rewards for those who do so Mark 9:41 says, ‘Anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward’. Paul also follows the same principle when he says in Galatians 6:10 ‘Therefore, as we have opportunity let us do good to all people, especially to the family of believers’. Are there not many, many brothers and sisters in Christ who are in are similar positions to those described in the scriptures above? And is not God calling some of us to put our faith into action and do something about it? – most certainly.
The poorest Christians who are deserving of the support of rich Western Christians generally come from countries where the church is experiencing tremendous growth – what an incentive this must be for us to support them and see our money go a long way to extend the Kingdom in these nations.
For example, in the country of Burkina Faso in Africa, the cost of feeding a child in a missionary run orphanage in 6pence a day – through gifts from richer Christians this work of God amongst orphaned children could see thousand cared for and thousands be brought up in a Christian setting – the opportunities are endless and God will surely lead you to good projects to invest in.
Again, a lot of churches give to brothers and sisters in Christ – they keep it all to themselves!! – we are called to give it to fellow Christians in need, not to please rich Christians by building bigger and more comfortable churches. Is it not the case that many Pastors and Elders are storing up accountability for themselves on judgement day by acting in such a way?
So in conclusion the bible gives at least 5 places where we should consider giving financially to
- The Great Commission / Missionary work
- The poor
- Giving to those who feed us (in the context of the local assembly)
- Giving to building projects / church expansions
- Giving to fellow believers
So which of these should take priority? as stated at the start of these chapters the bible gives indications without being dogmatic. It can be argued from Malachi 3:10 that we should bring our tithes to the local assembly we attend well, if your church is funding missionaries, feeding the poor and helping impoverished fellow believers then this would appear to be the best rule to follow. In the ideal world it would be the case that the local assembly would be the launching pad of a flood of blessing to the very ends of the earth so that local believers could all fully participate in the work of God.
Unfortunately, if the church leadership is paralysed by a withholding spirit and are inward looking and only concerned about the needs of the church, they will prevent blessings being released world-wide.
So, what if your church does nothing for world missions and feeding the poor and sees very few people saved – should you still give? This would appear to be a matter of prayer and seeking God for his guidance perhaps a percentage of the tithe could be given to the local assembly and the rest distributed to world missions and feeding the poor and fellow struggling believers.
We are not called to blindly carry on tithing year after year to a church which is bearing no fruit as we will only perpetuate a fruitless organisation. Are you happy that the place you are giving to is bearing fruit and is deserving of your money? this may be a hard question to some but is it not the case that we should be investing our money in fruitful, not fruitless, churches and missionaries and ministries?
A House of Prayer for the Poorer Nations
Pray for Croatia
4,472,600 people, 94.43% Muslim
Much suffering due to war but Christian witness strengthened by peace attempts.
This study contains the personal beliefs and practices of of the author who recommends them to the reader. The author takes no credit for their success where applied and likewise takes no responsibility for any failure or disappointment.
The House of Prayer for the Poorer Nations at the end of each section is based on Operation World 21st Century Edition © Patrick Johnstone, Jason Mandryk. Published by Paternoster. All scriptures are NIV © Hodder & Stoughton.