Benevolence & Justice

Benevolence & JusticeHow do you respond when you see a man walking on the street between waiting cars with a sign stating “will work for food?” Is he seeking a handout to fuel his alcohol abuse or is he sincerely seeking help to change? Or what are your thoughts towards the single mom or widow who comes to church to ask for financial aid?

In 2 Thessalonians 3:10, the early apostles, not wanting to be a burden to anyone gave this rule: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” However, in Matthew 5:42, Jesus tells us to “Give to anyone who asks you, and do not turn away.” Finally, we have all heard: “Don’t throw money at a problem. If that was the solution, our government would work perfectly.” So, how do we respond? The word of God shows us, with closer study, about benevolence.

A biblical basis
In his book Generous Justice, Tim Keller describes the care and cause of widows, orphans, immigrants, and the poor as the “quartet of the vulnerable.” As Christians, we are called not just to have compassion but to defend the rights of the poor and the needy. Why should we be concerned with the vulnerable ones? Because God is concerned! “The Lord defends the fatherless and the widow, and loves the immigrant, giving him food and clothing.” Our benevolence is biblically toward the poor (Galatians 2:10), the needy (Ephesians 4:28), to God’s servants (Philippians 4:14-17), and even towards our enemies (Matthew 5:44). As Proverbs 25:21 states: “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat: if he is thirty, give him water to drink.” We can also expand these clear biblical directives we see in scripture to include the disabled and the unborn.

It’s a directive
Jonathan Edwards concluded in his discord The Duty of Charity to the Poor, “Where have we any command in the Bible laid down in stronger terms, and in a more urgent manner, than the command of giving to the poor?” Proverbs 14:31 also tells us that, “Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but helping the poor honors him.”

Giving to the plight of the poor and needy is not only charity and compassion but, most importantly, it is justice. In scripture, gifts to the poor are acts of righteousness, and not giving generously is unrighteousness and a violation of God’s law (Matthew 6:1-2). Thus, radical generosity is one of the marks of living justly. Remember, “Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Hebrews 13:16). Jesus tells us to give to the thirsty, hungry, homeless, the sick and those in prison “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).

The right perspective
In speaking to benevolence directors and volunteers over the years, it would seem that it would be easy to become desensitized and discouraged in this work and toward those requesting help. How exhausting to hear all the sad stories, always assessing the true motives of the person and ever cautious not to enable some sin or addiction.

A church benevolence minister recently told me that if we did this in our own effort, looking for fruit and results, we would be feeling discouragement and failure 100 percent of the time. The proper motivation for the Christian is that we do all things unto the Lord – only that can keep us faithful week after week. We are confident that, as we work for the Lord, none of what we do is in vain; that in every good endeavor we will someday see how all the incomplete details of our benevolent works were part of God’s preordained plan.

2 Corinthians 9:11 states, “We have been made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion… which will result in thanksgiving to God.” Our benevolence is a witness to Christ in us! So give generously to those in need, as giving unto the Lord himself. In doing so, we are able to tangibly display the love, grace and mercy that God has lavished upon us.

Please call Jeff if you would like counsel on how to set up a Roth IRA. Jeffery Masters, President of Jeffery W. Masters & Associates Securities offered through LPL Financial, member FINRA/SIPC Investment Advise offered through Independent Financial Partners, a Registered Investment Advisor. Independent Financial Partners and Jeffery W. Masters & Associates are not affiliated with LPL Financial. Jeff is a Locally Endorsed Investment Advisor by Dave Ramsey. Email Jeff at: [email protected].

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