Monday, August 25, 2014

How to Care for Your Fellow Brother or Sister in Times of Need

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, we must work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10).

Encouragement to our Faithful Readers

Fellow brethren, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself who appointed us to this work is aware of your presence on this website. He is shepherding us to ensure we deliver a truthful message to you. In expressing His Holiness and truthful nature, the Lord admonished me to side with the truth only and this will secure my salvation and ultimately my redemption as well (1 Corinthians 9:27). Having you in mind, the Lord gives messages and visions that are specific to what we should know and do. In our work on this website, no church, doctrine or leader is elevated except Christ Jesus our Saviour and Lord.

This article concerns that we should extend our love and care to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. We often find many truly born again Christians ignoring the plight of others because they reckon those in need are not from "our church" or don't belong to our group.

The denominational spirit of our times is largely responsible for this selective care in today’s society. Understandably, while it is easy to extend a helping hand to those of our immediate fellowship, we should not limit the Lord’s work and fail to care for others outside our immediate fellowship. Neither should we fear those in our fellowship who are driven by a spirit of sectarianism (Acts 11:2-18). What we do for others, we do for Christ (Matthew 25:40).

Bible Examples of True Christian Care

The effectiveness of our faith is always expressed through a spirit of unity (Acts 2:44). Therein do we see faith in shared action. Furthermore, when our Lord discoursed on the parable of the Good Samaritan, He emphasized compassion for the wounded. The Lord discouraged sectarianism, pointing out that all men are our neighbours (Luke 10:30-37).

In denouncing sectarianism within Christianity, the Lord rebuked John for trying to stop someone (who was not part of their immediate company) from ministering deliverance in His name (Luke 9:49-50). Even so when Tabitha, a disciple, became sick, concerned brothers and sisters nursed her, remembering her loving and caring spirit before the Lord; they stood as one and trusted God to bring her back to life, and He did by honouring their faith and care for their fellow sister (Acts 9:36-41).

Often, people who consider themselves Christians lack compassion for the needy and they show their impatience with the needy person by avoiding contact, citing uncaring excuses (Luke 9:57-62). If I may put it this way, the ‘package’ of salvation includes a great deal of discomfort to ourselves and our families while God delivers His care and love through us to those in need (2 Corinthians 5:20).

In addition, our Lord Jesus Himself expressed compassion and care on many occasions to the sick, needy and the dead (Matthew 9:36; 20:34; 15:32; John 11:33-36). The Lord did not expect anything in return from those He took care of; His gift to them was to restore them in fellowship to God (2 Corinthians 5:18).The Lord’s care for the needy is real because He always initiates the action for help and deliverance for our good (Philippians 2:13; Acts 10:2).

Furthermore, when my family and I were on the verge of losing our house with the court summoning judgment against us, and being weak in our faith through sorrow, we turned to the Lord in desperation. In His compassion He lifted our faith in Him by commanding us to fast for a day. He used the fasting to draw our attention to Him, which served as an expression of faith, and this He did to deliver us from the bondage of our circumstances. In other words, He used fasting to motivate us to believe, so that He can help us. What an all Wise God we serve!

Do We Care Enough for Our Fellow Brethren?

It is disgraceful for us Christian to claim that we know Christ when we grudgingly overlook the dire or desperate needs of our fellow brethren (1 John 3:17-18). Having said this, the Christian faith does not encourage dependence on man (Jeremiah 17:5) but dependence on God for everything (Philippians 4:19; Psalm 121:2). The ministry of care to those in need is an expression of Christ’ love through the believer. It is very easy to take care of those close to us; while this is good and commendable, we should not overlook helping those beyond our own immediate association.  Like I mentioned above, discriminating compassion is not from God, but man. Also, if we give up on a needy person while they remain in that situation, we are proved fruitless and it is a mockery of our faith (John 15:1-17). Often, needy people, whether saved or unsaved, are always looking at the Christian response. Such situations could render a powerful testimony or hatred for the cause of Christianity. Those needing care often abandon their faith using their experience as testimony to embrace either another faith or some lifestyle outside Christ. Indeed, many false religions and denominations reach out to such needy people in order to win them to their false teachings.

In reality, when saying we must care for the needy brethren, the Lord is not expecting us to go door to door and look up for needy people. Scripturally, He sends them to us or sends us to them (Luke 10:31-33; 1 Kings 17:9). Our caring must not be grudgingly, but from a pure heart of love (2 Corinthians 9:7). The needy often recognised Christ being the source of our caring. Also, our mere knowledge of a person’s need should spur us into action and not just our physical presence. The Lord recently rebuked somebody for not showing enough care and compassion to a fellow believer who is in need of care. As a word of caution, our care for others should never be used by us or others to elevate us. Where Christ the giver through us is absent, we point people to our compassion for them, and the Lord says we have no Heavenly reward for our effort (Matthew 6:2).

In conclusion, when we care for our needy brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, we ourselves will not fail to receive mercy when our turn for mercy shows up; this is a Biblical fact of faith (Matthew 5:7). Furthermore, if we express and give care to the needy in Christ against our own will and discomfort, our response would either be out of genuine love or out of guilt. Guilt is fruitless and can be identified by the impatience of the giver, but care from a loving heart shows no remorse and the recipient of such care recognises God, whose Goodness to us we express through praise and thanksgiving.

Let us continue to practice hospitality, for it is not a matter of what we have or where we are, but being available to give care from our hearts wherever we are.

If you are not yet born again, please pray this Prayer of Sincere Repentance to get you started. For any questions or comments on this article or our ministry, please contact us.

God bless you all in Jesus name,
Brother Glenn.