In last week’s Family Page article we heard from James the Lord’s brother (James 1:27) concerning the significance of caring for those in need. We also heard from our Lord Jesus Himself as recorded in Matthew 25:31-46. In that passage He depicts the Judgment scene and emphasizes the importance of showing compassion on others. The Lord says that our response to the least of those around us is really our responding to Christ Himself. This response was the deciding factor in this particular parable.
So here are a few other comments from the record of Scripture. We’ll cover these and others as we prepare for our Benevolence contribution. Our shepherds challenged us this past Sunday with a goal of $30,000 total, which will enable us to take care of our church family, have some to share with the community around us, and be able to commit to the Backpack program with the local Second Harvest Food Bank to provide food over the weekends during the school year for poverty-stricken children in our own Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School District.
From the Law of Moses: “If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tight fisted toward your poor brother…Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be open-handed toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.” (Deuteronomy 15:7, 10-11)
From the apostle John: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 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? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:16-18)
From the book of Hebrews: “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” (Hebrews 13:15-16)
If our worship of God is only the “direct” kind—the fruit of lips that confess his name—and we are not offering to God with our lives the “indirect kind”—doing good and sharing with others—then our worship is unacceptable to God. That is the consistent message of Scripture, from the books of the Law through the Old Testament prophets, and from the gospels through the epistles to the promises of Revelation. Jesus demonstrated that fact in so very many ways, including in the way He defined the greatest commandment: to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength; and to love your neighbor as yourself.