By the immense grace of God, our church experienced His miraculous providence in the financing of our building project. The Lord allowed us to complete the construction with funds to spare. Besides letting us know that He is faithful, God made us understand that He is amongst us so that the whole congregation would learn to fear and love Him. Because of our fear of God, we should obey the teachings of the Bible in our daily lives; because of our love of God, we must love our fellow believers in the Lord in both mind and deed.
Perhaps some will ask, ˇ§How can we effectively put into practice the fear and love of God?ˇ¨ Besides our intercession and comforting, the writer suggests that everyone can consider monetary assistance for those members in need. This is a practical application of your love for your church. Do you still remember the past scenario when we all petitioned with one accord and offered whole-heartedly for the building project? How we loved the house of the Lord at that time, so that we exhausted every means at our disposal for the church construction, and eight families even offered their homes as mortgage collateral to fulfill the obligations of the project! The writer firmly believes that we are not just concerned for the needs of the church building, but also for the needs of the individual members. Since the church was able to finish the building construction in a debt-free manner, we should wisely apply our current financial capability to further develop divine ministries, including our Mission Ministry, support for students attending the seminary, and our Caring Ministry.
When the church was first established in the early days, the Holy Spirit worked mightily in the church so that many repented and turned back to the Lord. Everyone devoted themselves to the apostlesˇ¦ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they presented the proceeds to the apostles, who distributed to anyone as he had need (Acts 2:42-45). At that time, ˇ§all the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.ˇ¨ (Acts 4:32) ˇ§There were no needy persons among them.ˇ¨ (Acts 4:34) Under the influence of the Holy Spirit, the early church members earnestly loved one another, and always placed the needs of the other person first. The internal affair of the church then was not to undertake construction or development, but to fairly distribute means according to the different needs of the members. This writer does not intend to promote the communal possession, joint collection and equitable distribution model of the church at the time of the apostles, but the loving actions of the early church towards needy members are worthy of our emulation.
The apostle Paul used the example of the various Macedonian churches to admonish the Corinthian Church. Although the churches in those places were quite poor, yet they gave all they had to help the destitute members in Jerusalem, to the point of going beyond their own financial ability, joyfully and willingly supporting their fellow believers in the Lord. According to Paul, the churches in Macedonia pleaded again and again with the apostles for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints (2 Corinthians 8:4). Because of this excellent example, the Corinthian Church under the leadership of Titus also pressed forward with a caring ministry that looked after fellow believers.
At present, when our pastoral workers learn of a member in financial need, they will communicate with that member to ascertain their inadequacy, which is then conveyed to the Elders. After approval by the Council of Elders and Deacons, assistance will be quickly offered. Yet right now the Caring Fund of the church usually does not have sufficient reserve to cover this requirement. Dear brothers and sisters, if you are moved by the Holy Spirit and wish to learn to financially support our needy members, you may make an offering with a notation to the ˇ§Caring Fundˇ¨. But the writer wishes everyone to understand that ˇ§each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.ˇ¨ (2 Corinthians 9:7)
ˇ§Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.ˇ¨ (2 Corinthians 9:10-12)
By: Daniel To