“The Bride of Christ isn’t a very good mother!” (1)
This is one of those accusations that gets my attention and causes my hair to stand up on my neck. The charge is clear, “The Church does not take care of her own!”
It is bad enough when the church does not take care of anyone in need, but to ignore her own is an abomination.
Too frequently the church, Christ’s bride, is guilty of withholding a helping hand.
A story remains impressed upon my heart.
One day after class when I was teaching in a Men’s Recovery Program at a local mission a student asked if he could talk with me briefly after class. I had been teaching for 6 weeks wondering if anyone was listening to my lectures about Jesus and being faithful.
After everyone left, he closed the classroom door and told me about a burden on his heart.
One of the other men in the program who had overcome his addiction and committed his life to Christ had a problem. The roof of his house was leaking and winter was coming. A contractor had agreed to provide free labor if someone else would provide shingles. They needed $3200 to purchase the shingles. He wanted to know if the church I served would help.
When I told him I would ask the church board if they would help with the expense, this middle aged gentleman began to cry.
I quickly clarified that I would ask the board, but that did not mean they would agree to help. He shook his head acknowledging what I said as tears continued to roll down his cheeks.
He then explained, ”Your willingness to ask has saved my faith in God!”
He went on to explain that the previous two Sundays, after the men in the recovery program had sung and testified to their faith in Christ at the two largest and wealthiest churches in town, he had approached the Pastors of those churches for help. Both Pastors told him, “We do not do things like that. It’s too much money for us!” Without another word they both turned and walked away from him.
Their responses crushed his heart and weakened his young faith.
He was grateful I was willing to ask the church I serve to help. “This was all I needed to know, that a minister cared enough to ask. I know it’s a lot of money. I am not expecting you to provide all we need, anything will help!”
I was thankful when the board of the church I serve said “YES!” Two weeks later, immediately prior to the first snow, the roof of his friend’s house was replaced.
How would Jesus answer you, if you asked Him this question?
“Lord, when did I see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?” (2)
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Jim L. Wilson, Fresh Start Devotionals (Fresno, CA: Willow City Press, 2009).
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Matthew 25:44.