We, the church, are responsible for our people. Instead, we have passed that responsibility over to the government. The Kingdom should work shown in these scriptures in Acts, describing the early church. We have trained our people to look to this government rather than the Kingdom of God because the church isn't operating on Kingdom principles, so there is lack and misuse of funds. In my life experiences of counting the offerings, holding the checkbook, paying the bills, etc, benevolence isn't enough of a priority! So, here is my challenge to the church:
Starting in 2016, I challenge you to budget at least 10% of your offerings to helping your people who desperately need assistance. Tithing is the least you should do. Don't go looking for a way to "come up with some money" or take a special offering when a need arises; have it already budgeted and in the bank. Have a system already in place to evaluate the need and make the final decisions pertaining to assistance.
The excuse I usually hear is that the offerings aren't even big enough to pay the bills, so how can they budget for benevolence. How big is your God? Mine is big enough to supply all my needs, as long as I am obedient in according to His Word. First we must order the natural, then comes the spiritual. Watch out for misplaced priorities! Are your priorities--your budget--in line with God's Word? Maybe there is lack because the budget and finances aren't being handled according to the Will of God? When members are encouraged to tithe, they are told to be obedient to God's Word. They are told that it is God's money and not theirs to keep. Why would the church be required to do any less than its members?
It is ALL God's money, He gives us access to what we need. The more obedient we are, the more access we get. You can't outgive God. We have experienced that time and time again.
The church must get their priorities in order with God's Word. God's people and the church must stop looking to the government to supply their needs. We are citizens of the Kingdom of God and He shall supply all our needs according to His riches in Glory...not the US treasury. It's time to change our minds about money and seek our Source...and it's time for the church to be the hands of our Source.
I will end with some of God's Word (in the Living translation so it is clearly understood) on the subject:
Dear brothers, what’s the use of saying that you have faith and are Christians if you aren’t proving it by helping others? Will that kind of faith save anyone? If you have a friend who is in need of food and clothing, and you say to him, “Well, good-bye and God bless you; stay warm and eat hearty,” and then don’t give him clothes or food, what good does that do? (James 2:14-16)
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Sir, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you anything to drink? Or a stranger, and help you? Or naked, and clothe you? When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you?’ “And I, the King, will tell them, ‘When you did it to these my brothers, you were doing it to me!’ ...Then I will turn to those on my left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry and you wouldn’t feed me; thirsty, and you wouldn’t give me anything to drink; a stranger, and you refused me hospitality; naked, and you wouldn’t clothe me; sick, and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’
“Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’
“And I will answer, ‘When you refused to help the least of these my brothers, you were refusing help to me.’
“And they shall go away into eternal punishment; but the righteous into everlasting life.” (Matthew 25:37-40, 41-46)
He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and He will pay back what he has given. (Proverbs 19:17 NKJV)