In my personal reading, I have been wading thoughtfully through the Book of Acts, and studying how the Early Church functioned. After Christ’s ascension, a whole new faith existed; it was Judaism coupled with the revelation and teaching of Christ. This new faith became known as “The Way”, and eventually, its adherents would be called “Christians”.
Something that I have seen as a fundamentally good and Christ-like practice that they did in the early Church, and that is not necessarily a focus of the modern Church, is to sell your earthly possessions, and distribute the church’s communal wealth so that the needy would not be in need any longer. Two passages that communicate this practice are: Acts 2:43-47, and Acts 4:32-37.
I’m not saying we’re to become homeless and wear rags, but I am trying to suggest that for the Early Church, meeting the needs of the Poor among them was very important.
Church, Are we meeting the needs of our Poor?
- The church takes care of their own so that there is “not a Needy person among them” (Acts 4:34, NRSV).
- Luke 14:13 – “But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind” – Jesus
- James 1:27: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”
The early church in the book of Acts, as well as other writings from the Scriptures, clearly communicate that the CHURCH is commanded to aid the Poor. The poor are in our communities, and the poor are within our Church doors. There is no Excuse why people should starve or freeze within a close distance from a Church of God. And there is absolutely no excuse why any member, or regular attender, of a Church of God should ever be lacking in food, clean water, shelter, or warm clothing.
Stop for a moment . . .
Think about your own Church.
Is there any person, or family, within your own fold who is suffering financially – whether because of unforeseen life expenses, loss of a job, or even bad spending choices?
Sometimes, people in need will not make mention of it out of fear of judgement, or out of embarrassment. Does your church have a system in place that allows them to discreetly tell you their needs, and a board or committee that discerns how to address these needs? If your church has something in place to address the poor within their doors, they are doing well.
What does your church do to help the poor with your doors, and/or outside of it? Please leave a comment.
“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.” – The Prayer of St. Francis
**All Scripture passages are taken from the New Revised Standard Version of the Holy Bible**