7 Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless.
Give clothes to those who need them,
and do not hide from relatives who need your help. — Isaiah 58:7 NLT
God does not accept false worship. You know, the kind of worship where you are watching the clock and waiting for it to strike high noon. Just as he was upset with the Israelites about performing sacrifices only for tradition’s sake, He doesn’t like halfhearted worship. He wants our full attention and He deserves it. God inhabits the praises of His people. But not that shallow stuff. 3 songs, prayer, collection, sermon, prayer and we are good for the week. Not so, my brothers and sisters. God has something to say to us, give Him your time and your full attention. He is looking at your heart. Have you falsely accused? Have you caused someone else to have to carry a part of your load? Have you encouraged anyone today? Have you given any charitable donations or worked in a local ministry to feed or clothe the poor and needy? If not, then God does not consider that you have worshiped Him properly. Humble yourself before the Lord and ask Him to show you where he needs you to work in His kingdom. Practice this and you will look forward to meeting with the Lord anytime, anywhere. Then the joy of your salvation will be restored.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
17 Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. — 1 Timothy 6:17 NLT
God revealed Himself to us using different names. One of those names is Jehovah- Jireh, which means that He is our provider. We usually think of that in terms of physical needs and God does provide for our physical needs here on earth. But it is more than that. our greatest needs are spiritual and He provides for those needs in abundance. We look around us and we see all kinds of needs going unmet and we wonder why God doesn’t fulfill every need in the world. We know He is capable of doing so and we know that He has the resources. Whether we like it or not, whether we agree or disagree with His plan, the first step in trying to understand those unmet needs is to understand that God’s promises are to His children. The next step is to understand that if we are deliberately living a life of disobedience, He is not obligated to do anything for us. The next step might be that He uses humans to carry out His plans and we know that we are not always reliable. Sometimes, perhaps, we keep more of what He has blessed with than He wanted us to, so someone doesn’t get their need fulfilled. The first two steps are His and we can’t change them. The third step is ours and that is where we need to focus. Are we doing all we can do to alleviate needs in our corner of the world? Are we using God’s abundance to fulfill our wants instead of meeting the needs of those around us? We need money for our journey here on earth but we also need to use as much as possible of the money God gives us to do good and lay up eternal treasures in heaven.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
36 The almond buds and branches must all be of one piece with the center stem, and they must be hammered from pure gold. 37 Then make the seven lamps for the lampstand, and set them so they reflect their light forward. 38 The lamp snuffers and trays must also be made of pure gold. 39 You will need 75 pounds of pure gold for the lampstand and its accessories. — Exodus 25:36-39 NLT
For those who think God has something against money, prosperity and being rich, here is something to think about. Seventy-five pounds of gold is 1200 ounces. On today’s market, gold is listed at $1114.30 per ounce. That means that in today’s world, the cost of the lampstand and all of its accessories would be $1,336,800 in US currency. Extravagant? If you own all the gold in the world, does extravagant even have a meaning? One could object that God took all this money from the poor, homeless Israelis. Why would He do that? But, we must remember when they were slaves in Egypt, they had nothing and when God called them out of Egypt, He caused the Egyptians to give the Israelis all of their jewelry and gold. He was the reason they had the gold in the first place, they were just carrying it for Him. The same is true of us today, anything that we have came from God and we are just carrying it for Him. The next time the offering plate is passed, we need to remember where our gold came from and give a goodly portion of it back. When we have an opportunity to share the bountiful gifts God has so freely given to us, let us share it with a joyful, thankful heart. Take a moment to remember and thank God for His extravagance in giving us His Son. We will never be able to give to God more than He has given to us. When we seriously think about it, God doesn’t really require much of us.
8 No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. — Micah 6:8 NLT
26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. — James 1:26, 27 NIV
In the days that James lived and penned this book through the leadership of the Holy Spirit, people were weighed down with ritualistic religions. They were bound by rules that said “you must do this”and “you must not do that”, particularly, in the areas of eating and drinking. Those that did a decent job of following the rules considered themselves to be “religious”. They attended the services at the temples or synagouges and prayed at the right times, etc. Much like today, when we go to church on Sunday morning for a couple of hours and mumble a few (if any) prayers or spend anytime reading the Holy Scriptures during the week. We seem to feel that if we do those things, we are fulfilling our duties as Christians. We can spend the other 166 hours of the week doing whatever we please. We can gossip, criticize and say and do all kinds of things. We Christians would never steal, kill or destroy, we don’t commit the “big” sins. But the two areas in which we do fall short are in our speech and in our “not doing”. Jesus gave us a solemn warning about the things we say:
10 Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. 11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” — Matt. 15:10
We must take this warning seriously and be very careful of what we say.
There are also many verses about how we should treat others. Jesus says that if we see a brother or sister in need and take care of that need for them, it is the same as doing it for Him. If we don’t take care of that need, it is the same as refusing to do it for Him. Helping others is how we show them the love of Jesus Christ. It is these actions that will draw others to Jesus.
16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. — 1 John 3:16, 17
13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.–Romans 12:13 NIV
God has appointed each of us to be stewards of certain resources. We should always remember that those resources originated from and belong to Him. We, as His children, are the distribution system He has chosen to use. How well we do that can have a direct result on how much of His resources we are allowed to manage.
21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’–Matt. 25:21 NIV
Our love and charity should begin at home.
8 Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.–1 Tim. 5:8 NIV
Then, each church congregation should take care of it’s members.
9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.–Gal. 6:9,10 NIV
Then, we are instructed to love our neighbors, which, in Biblical context, is everybody. We show this love by practicing hospitality to everyone.
It behooves each of us to ask the Holy Spirit to show us how to be better stewards of the resources God has given us.