Leave No One Out
Lord, thank You that today is the day You have made. I will rejoice and be glad in it, giving thanks to You.
1 Timothy 5:1-16
Consider: In our individualistic, mobile society, we Christians need to be aware of those for whom we have ongoing responsibility, both in our families and in our church.
Through the years, our Western societies have changed the ways the marginalized, disadvantaged, and needy are cared for. Governments, in many cases, have taken on these responsibilities. Unfortunately, things are not as effective and efficient as we would like them to be. Consider these few principles in searching your understanding of God's expectations about helping the needy.
Everyone in the community is responsible to help needy persons. This is a frequently ignored principle in a society where other institutions besides the church provide services. The Christian principle stated by Paul makes the family responsible for its members (4,8,16). Today's generation tends to relegate their responsibility to public services in caring for the needy.
Those receiving assistance should also be ready to help the needy (9-10). The fact that someone was a widow did not automatically make that widow qualify for assistance. Even if widows qualify, it was expected that they also help others in need. Those capable of helping, even if they receive the benefits of the community, are also asked to be serving others (9-10).
The community is responsible to assess the degree of the need (3,5). Paul indicates that a person, if capable, is responsible to care for himself or herself.
Assistance to the needy must be supported by an ethical lifestyle (4,8-10). This is a principle for both the giver and the receiver. The great virtue of Christian giving is that goes beyond the reach of other institutions by making personal contact between the giver and the receiver; it makes them connect to a different level. This principle is corrupted when one pays others to do the service, when getting personally involved is an option.
Apply: Do you agree that goodwill to others must be supported by the personal ethical conduct of the helper?
Lord, I need to feel as You feel, to care as You care, to include the marginalized, and to give dignity and respect to all I meet.
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