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Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Apostolic Traditions Regarding Giving (Part Two)
In our physical bodies service and supply always flow from members which have to those members which lack or need that service or supply.
The lungs always have an abundance of oxygen and the cardiovascular system is continually moving that oxygen from the place of abundance to the places of need (every cell in the body).
The stomach and intestines are regularly supplied with food/nourishment/fuel. The cardiovascular system continually moves that nourishment from the place of abundance to places of need (every cell) throughout the body.
When one member suffers (an itch, a wound, a break) other members which are equipped to render service or supply to the suffering members do so. A fingernail scratches a mosquito bite to relieve the itch. When an ankle is sprained - the hands bind it up and the other leg and the arms share the weight of the body to allow that ankle to rest and heal. If an arm or leg is broken, it is immobilized and other members of the body bear its responsibilities while it heals.
So also in scripture we see that service and supply in the Body of Christ is to flow from abundance to need:
-from the fed to the hungry,
-from the watered to the thirsty,
-from the hospitable to the stranger,
-from the clothed to the naked,
-from the healthy to the sick,
-from the free to the prisoner,
-from the strong to the weak,
-from the comforted to the troubled.
Below are a number of scriptures which outline instructions and commands which have been passed down to us by the apostles to guide us in the matter of giving. As you read them, ask: “Is this apostolic perspective on giving the same as or radically different from what we have been traditionally taught regarding giving, to whom we are to give and whom we are to support?”
Acts 20:33) I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel. 34) Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. 35) I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
Romans 12:13) Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
Romans 15:1) We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
2 Corinthians 8:9) For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. 10) And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago. 11) Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have. 12) For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. 13) For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: 14) 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: 15) As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.
Ephesians 4:28) Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. 29) Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use (need) of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
1 Thessalonians 5:14) Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.
1 John 3:17) 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?
How do these apostolic commands differ from what you have traditionally been taught about giving? To what kind(s) of people did the apostles say we should give? To what kinds of people have we been traditionally taught to give?