This past week, I wrote a devotional talking about people in need and God meeting those needs. I threw the idea out there that perhaps God was meeting needs through all the governmental resources that sometimes people are too proud to accept. My husband was quick to remind me that, we as Americans, tend to expect the Government to come to our aid in times of crisis or need. As, Christian musician, Brandon Heath points out, in his new album release, Leaving Eden, it does appear that the majority of the culture is forgetting God is here and the majority has made the choice to ” Leave Eden,” and follow their own paths. Instead of depending on God and the family of God, more and more Americans are yelling at the Government to “fix the problem.”
Yet, that's not what God wants us to do. We were created to glorify God and have a relationship with Him. We are expected to depend on God, study His Word as a guide for our lives and pray never ceasing. As we grow and mature in the Lord, out of great reverence and respect, we begin to share more and more with others about who God is and how his presence in our lives change the way we choose to live and think and relate in this world. The more we learn, the more we love and the more we share. It just overflows.
Think for a minute what might happen if we stopped depending on the Government to fix all our problems. What if we started fixing them ourselves. This is the way people lived in Bible times. In fact, Amish communities still live this way. I also know some Christian circles that have chosen to share burdens among themselves instead of depending on Governmental resources.
In need of a house? Perhaps a church would build one for you as a missionary project.
Is their a medical need with medical expenses involved? Perhaps the community could have fund raisers for the need. The Amish have several auctions and sales throughout the year to contribute to the community fund which pays for emergencies that come up in the community.
Don't have health insurance? Check out Samaritan's Ministries. Based on scripture, Galatians 6:2 (NIV), “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Basically it's a monthly pooling of funds from all who choose to participate and if a need arises, the word gets out and a check from the direct pool is sent to help meet the need. Also the need and the participant's address is mailed out in the monthly newsletter. This gives participant's another way to pay it forward if they choose to do so. There are several testimonial stories about how people who use Samaritan Ministries not only received a check from the direct pool but also received several anonymous checks in the mail from other participants to meet their needs.
Are you in need of food? Again, I will repeat, please do not be afraid, embarrassed or ashamed to tell others that you are having financial difficulties. I have had experiences in my past where people have left our congregation or had their feelings hurt because their particular needs were not met. How does one meet another's needs if the needs are not spoken and presented before the congregation, family and friends? We can not meet what we do not know. Notice, however, I said, “we.”
Scripture tells the people how to care for one another. The elderly and widows should be taken care of by family members. If there are no family members to meet the needs, then the needs fall to the community to meet. Same goes for orphans. Now, I don't know any orphans. Most children are cared for in the State Foster Care system, that is true. However, because most Americans no longer establish roots close to family and relatives, many people find themselves without help from their families when crisis arise. These needs should not be left to the Government to meet, but should be met by neighbors, friends and the local community and church congregations. Several churches have created food pantries within their church to meet the needs of the locals. A few churches also set up clothes closets.
I realize this devotional has been more informational than devotional, but it does point us toward God and being Christ like.
“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 (NIV)
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 (NIV)
“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,” Philippians 2:1-3 (NIV)
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)
Here are verses that talk about community pooling to meet the needs of those who have no one else.
“At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year’s produce and store it in your towns, 29 so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.” Deuteronomy 14:28-29 (NIV)
Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. 4 But 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.” 1 Timothy 5:3-4 (NIV)
God provides for those that have no one else. Sometimes that's in the form of a community or a church family. Don't be too proud and rebellious to accept the help.
“God sets the lonely in families,he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.” Psalm 68:6 (NIV)
God expects us as Christians to do what we can for one another.
Even in the days of Christ, when the crowds gathered and the people grew hungry, Jesus told the disciples,
“They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” Matthew 14:16 (NIV)
Jesus came to teach us about God and God's love. As imitators of Christ, should we depend on the Government to meet all our needs or should we put our faith and trust in God to meet our needs through other means? Remember, our country was founded on, ” In God We Trust.” Take your que from Jesus himself, ” You give them something to eat.”