Meditation for Monday

For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. Romans 15:26

One of the things I notice about missionaries when they visit  our Assembly to give a report of their work is the emphasis they place on giving the names of those they labour among. They give us the names of those who are newly saved, and identify the brothers and sisters who are encountering problems of all kinds. They list those who are a good help to them, those who are showing spiritual growth and leadership, and those who have had interesting experiences. All these names are important to allow us to grasp the personal nature of missionary work, and to make that work something we can relate directly with. I believe God would have us to know the people and personalities in places near and far, and to – like the Assemblies Paul mentions in today’s test – take direct action to help when we can.

Many of the Christians who were living in Jerusalem had been undergoing severe persecution and were in deep poverty. As Paul moved among the Christians in the Assemblies in Greece, he found them interested in and concerned about the plight of the Jerusalem saints. They were not merely interested, they were motivated to do something about it. Several of the Assemblies had gathered substantial amounts of money to send to Jerusalem. In doing so, some Christians had given generously despite having little left for themselves. As Paul was making his way to Jerusalem to carry the generosity of the Greek Christians, he was able to rejoice at how the Lord’s people in one area were able to show their love and support to Christians in another area. Our text makes it clear that these folks were not simply giving to make a good impression, or giving because they were following the lead of others, or giving because they were pushed and prodded into doing so. No, these Assemblies in Macedonia and Achaia were giving because they wanted to do so. They were giving because it gave them delight in knowing that they could help. They were giving because of their desire to be like the Lord Jesus and to serve others. That should be our motive when we give to those in need.

If we don’t know of the need, it is difficult to give or to even care about giving. That is why it is important to be aware that many of the Lord’s people need help. Some not far from us, even some in our own Assembly may be more needy than we realize. We won’t know unless we take an interest. The same goes for those further away from us. Christians living in areas stricken by disaster or war are often in need. As we become aware of the difficulties, we should also seek to learn of the needs of the Lord’s people. Reports of missionaries and other workers can also keep us in the know concerning Christians who could benefit from loving aid. As we make an effort to learn of the need, God will give us a desire to meet that need, and to have a genuine care for the saints that we can help.

The world’s greed will have us cling to what we have, but the love of Christ will open our hearts to care and to share. – Jim MacIntosh

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