By Ernest O'Neill

How Should We Give?

By Rev. Ernest O'Neill

It’s Roman’s 12:13 and it runs like this:  "Contribute to the needs of the saints” and you see that it involves much more than this, but it involves at least what I tried to say in the title of the sermon; it involves helping each other financially.  Now you might say “Contribute to the needs of the saints -- but shouldn’t we contribute to everybody’s needs?   Shouldn’t we help earthquake victims, and shouldn’t we help the orphans, and shouldn’t we help the little children who are starving, shouldn’t we contribute to everybody’s needs?”  Well, the Bible is so good because it answers a question like that in a precisely correct way and you’ll see that answer if you’d like to look at it in Galatians 6:10: “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”  So God’s word says “Yes you should help everybody, but especially those who are of the household of faith.”  Now why? Well, the Father is saying to us that financial or physical help may be the most visible help that a person needs, but it’s probably, at the end of the day, the least vital help.  And it’s probable that what most people need, above everything else, is love and care and somebody who has concern for them.  And so God says to us, yes, financial help is good, material help is good, but it’s really only useful when it’s part of a whole friendship relationship that you have with that person.

That’s why he said "do good to all men but especially, to those who are of the household of faith -- to those with whom you have a whole and complete relationship."  It’s not because he thinks we should be a little ghetto that just takes care of their own, but it’s because he emphasizes that any financial or physical help is most useful to a person when it’s part of a whole love relationship that you have with them.  That’s why in Matthew 25: 34-36 Jesus kept on saying to us, “I want you to visit the sick and those who are in the prison, I want you to clothe those who are naked, I want you to look after the orphan, I want you to feed those who are hungry as if you are doing it to me and for the people for whom I have died.  Then it comes over to them as part of your love for them and it’s something that builds them up in the only relationship that is really valuable. If you don’t do it that way, then all you are doing is helping them to exist a little longer in this silly old world in the same frustration and loneliness that brought them to this tragic material situation."  So Jesus says whenever you help anybody, help them with love for them and have a whole relationship to them and give them the financial help as part of your whole commitment of yourself to them.