Hello and welcome to episode 56 of The Berean Manifesto brought to you by The Ekklesian House. This is Pastor Bill and today we are talking about taking care of fellow believers in their needs.
We’re going to start this podcast today in Psalm chapter 112,
Happy is the person who
fears the Lord,
taking great delight in his commands.
His descendants will be powerful in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches are in his house,
and his righteousness endures forever.
Light shines in the darkness for the upright.
He is gracious, compassionate, and righteous.
Good will come to the one who lends generously
and conducts his business fairly.
He will never be shaken.
The righteous one will be remembered forever.
He will not fear bad news;
His heart is confident, trusting in the Lord.
His heart is assured; he will not fear.
In the end he will look in triumph on his foes.
He distributes freely to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.
His horn will be exalted in honor.
The wicked one will see it and be angry;
He will gnash his teeth in despair.
The desire of the wicked leads to ruin.”
“Wealth and riches are in his house,” “He distributes freely to the poor.” What if I told you that they’re talking about more than there than just money there when they say wealth and riches? And when they talk about distributing freely to the poor than just giving the poor money. I know the default assumption when today’s topic comes up is that we’re talking all about money, and scriptures like 1 John 3:17 certainly seem to reinforce that idea, “If anyone has this world’s goods and sees a fellow believer in need but withholds compassion from him – how does God’s love reside in him?” And yes that is one of the gifts of the spirit, giving finances, that we can use to take care of our fellow believers needs, but it’s only 1 of 15 gifts of the Spirit.
I want to read 2 Corinthians 9:5-8 to you, “I considered it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance the generous gift you promised, so that it will be ready as a gift and not as an extortion. The point is this: The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously. Each person should do as he has decided in his heart – not reluctantly or out of compulsion, since God loves a cheerful giver.” This passage of scripture is why I never ask for donations here on The Berean Manifesto podcast, or take up an offering at The Ekklesian House Fellowship meetings. We are a non-profit, yes, and our budget consists 100% of donations, yes. But, I would rather not extort money from the people I’m ministering to here or in our fellowship meetings. Extort not being my word, that’s the Apostle Paul there, calling that extortion. If a person is going to give finances to a church, to a ministry, to a non-profit, it should be a decision they make in their heart ahead of time, and not out of compulsion.
So since finances aren’t the whole picture here, and that’s not really what we’re geared towards doing, then what makes up the rest of what you have to give? What if you don’t have finances to give? I’ve been there, we’ve all found ourselves in that situation where we want to help, we want to contribute, but we don’t have the finances. Well Romans 12 gives us a whole list of areas where we can share with our fellow believer. Starting in verse 3 it says, “For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one. Now as we have many parts in one body, and all the parts do not have the same function. In the same way we who are many are one body in Christ and individually members of one another. According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts:”
Now let’s pause there for a minute. We talked in episode 51 about the parable of the talents and how the distribution of gifts by God is directly proportionate to our capacity to embrace and exude the fruits of the Spirit in the season of life that we find ourselves in. It’s good stuff and if you don’t remember it or haven’t listened to it then you would do good to go back and listen to that now and come back here afterwards.
Picking back up in Romans 12:6, “According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts: If prophecy, use it according to the proportion of one’s faith; if service, use it in service; if teaching in teaching; if exhorting, in exhortation; giving, with generosity; leading, with diligence; showing mercy with cheerfulness.”
To recap that’s; prophecy, service, teaching, exhortation, giving, leading, and mercy. 1 Corinthians chapter 12 adds to that list with; words of wisdom, words of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, miracles, distinguishing between spirits, speaking in tongues, and the interpretation of tongues. These 15 gifts of the spirit are how we, the righteous, give to the poor and take care of the needs of our fellow believers.
God keeps track of every investment you make using your gifts, Hebrews 6:10-12 says, “God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you demonstrated for His name by serving the saints – and by continuing to serve them. Now we desire each of you to demonstrate the same diligence for the full assurance of your hope until the end, so that you won’t become lazy but will become imitators of those who inherit the promises through faith and perseverance.”
I leave you with the words of Galatians 6:9-10, “Let us not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity let us work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith."
Until next time…