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[thoughts] Giving Generously (August 7-13, 2006)

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  • Mark Roth
    Thoughts for the Week Mark Roth http://www.anabaptists.org/clp/youth/ ... This edition goes out today to 3846 subscribers. Thank you! ... GIVING GENEROUSLY (2
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 12 7:47 AM
      Thoughts for the Week
      Mark Roth

      This edition goes out today to 3846 subscribers. Thank you!

      (2 Corinthians 8:1-15)


      We cannot go out to solve the world's social and economic
      problems through direct intervention. We are not called to social
      and political activism. I question whether we are called to solve
      those problems by any means. Let the world mess around with
      their economic and social problems. Let them march under the
      banner of democracy, Marxism or fascism. Let them trumpet the
      utopias of capitalism or redistribution of wealth. Political
      empires, economic systems and social philosophies will surge
      and wane...and through it all, the poor will always be among us
      (Deuteronomy 15:11; Mark 14:7). God calls His people to avoid
      getting caught in temporary tinkering on the world's systems.
      God wants His people to be instruments in His hands for
      effecting eternal changes in *people*.

      The economic and social principles which God laid down for His
      people in the Old Testament ought still be applicable in the lives
      of His people in our era. Our personal and corporate financial
      dealings ought to be entirely just, equitable and generous. God
      expects us to lift that kind of righteous standard before people,
      but He has not commissioned us to change state or national
      economic policies and systems. Though most of us don't
      entertain such worldly ambitions, we are much too susceptible to
      emotional and verbal agitation against the oppression and
      injustices which we see. My friend, God would have us to be at
      peace, free from even that kind of response. It is time to get
      above the fray and do what we can to address needs with the
      resources which God has given us and which the government has
      allowed us to keep!

      What are my responsibilities to the needy in the church? What
      does God want *me* to do about the hungry, sick, disabled or
      unemployed in the church? I believe the answers which follow
      underscore two basic facts concerning the church as a body: (1)
      to help a member of the body is to help the Head of the body,
      and (2) to help a member of the body is to benefit the body as
      a whole (thus, helping another is helping myself).

      According to James 2:15 and 16, God expects the Christian with
      food and clothing to feed and warm the brother or sister who has
      neither. The issue does not seem to be the amount of surplus the
      "have" believer has; rather, the issue is that he has at least
      something while the "have not" has nothing. Astoundingly,
      therein lies the proof of God's love in His people:

      "But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have
      need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how
      dwelleth the love of God in him?" (1 John 3:17).

      Isaiah 58:6-12 is a powerful passage detailing how God expects
      those who go by His name to live in a caring brotherhood. I
      believe that verse six refers primarily to a fast which assures
      success in the spiritual battles that rage about us. Verse seven
      addresses the fast which is brought about by the very practical
      desire to give to someone else that which I had planned to eat.
      Or perhaps using my own food money to buy clothing for some
      destitute person. Then verses 8-12 raise up the rich blessings
      God pours out on those who care that way.

      Proverbs 22:7 alerts us to the perils of extreme economic strata
      in the church. I am not sure whether this verse says that I should
      not borrow; I am sure it says I should not lend to the needy. God
      calls on me to *give* to the poor (Proverbs 19:17; 22:9; 28:27).

      The Bible commands balanced responsibility one for another:

      "For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: But
      by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a
      supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply
      for your want: that there may be equality: As it is written, He
      that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had
      gathered little had no lack" (2 Corinthians 8:13-15).

      Is it possible that we have failed to truly believe Matthew

      "Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw
      we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee
      drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked,
      and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and
      came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them,
      Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of
      the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."


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      Mark Roth

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