It is a blessing for our church that there are so many members who help those with needs in secret. I usually learn about them by accident from the people who received the help or a third party. God will reward these people richly because our Lord said, “Your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (Matt. 6:4).”
As the number of members in our church grows, the number of those in need grows as well. Some members have began to ask me what our church policy is concerning financial assistance.
Before I talk about our church policies, let me lay down some Biblical principles. Good ones can be found in 1 Timothy Chapter 5. Apostle Paul says the following in regards to assistance.
“If a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. (v4) If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (v8) No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty. (v9) As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list. (v11) If any woman who is a believer has widows in her family, she should help them and not let the church be burdened with them. (v16)”
In other places in the Bible Paul says this: “Work with your hands, just as we told you, so that you will not be dependent on anybody (1 Thess. 4:11-12).” “We gave you this rule: If a man will not work, he shall not eat (2 Thess. 3:10).”
The principles Paul lays down can be summarized as follows. Christians must work to earn their living. If people do not have the capability to make a living, their relatives should take care of them. If people have neither the capability to work nor relatives to help them, for example widows above 60 years in age, the church should take care of them.
I think the church should not let her members go hungry. Our church stocks bags of rice so that anyone who is in need can take them home. Our charity ministry team also buys and delivers groceries to those in need at the request of a shepherd.
I also believe the church as a whole should take care of only basic needs. Needs beyond these should be taken care of by individuals.
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