Math 25: 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Ministering physically to the church was a basic doctrines of those in the early church.
It was part of their Christian Identify
The Fellowship of Believers
42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
So lets look at some scriptures dealing with the caring for others.
It is a major doctrine in the Bible with many scriptures but for now lets focus on the beginning of Christs ministry and even before that lets start with John the Baptist
John who was a cousin of Christ and came preaching and teaching the doctrine of Repentance, his calling and ministry was prophesied in the Old Testament
A voice of one calling: “Prepare the way for the LORD in the wilderness; make a straight highway for our God in the desert.
John message was one of deep repentance, his call was to get the peoples hearts ready for the Messiah.
Note his message –
8 Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
9 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
10 And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?
11 He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.
Fruits of repentance included ministering to the saints.
Repentance – the beginning of a relationship with the Lord starts with deep powerful repentance – one of walking away from sin and the pain it brings and looking to the Lord for companionship, love and ultimately salvation, and then going beyond even beyond that to making the the Lord just that LORD of our lives – it is a dying out to our will and creating a life that is focused on serving Christ by serving others.
Repentance is more than just a feeling or words is is powerful life changing actions, a person who has repented will naturally begin to do things that the Lord loves, and lay aside the things the Lord hates…one of those things is caring for others, and if you want to know what the Lord hates, it is anything that hurts you, physically, emotionally or spiritually.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.
Repentance, kills the ego and says, like Christ, “Not my will but thine be done”
Corrie Ten Boom while she was in the Nazi death camp= noted that one of the greatest issues facing those in the camp was egoism – meaning self was first, she noted and article of clothing would be available and instead of that article going to the most needy flesh and egoism would say- I need it.
When we really repent of our ways, of the me first -me, me, me or worse I, I, I, we can then begin to see and hear the needs of others, we begin to hear the pain in other voices, and begin to share their concerns and physical needs as well as spiritual needs. To hear the cry of our neighbors, and loved ones, to go beyond just asking- “How are you doing?” to really listen, not just with the hearing but listen with our spirits to their spirits, and then to empathize with their needs and if it is in our power to help them, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
When we really repent – our own fleshly desired become second to those in need within our circle, our families needs come first, then the needs within the church family and then finally the needs of the community.
Part of repentance is caring for others.
Nearly five million people in Canada – that’s one out of every seven individuals – currently live in poverty. Poverty is a widespread issue across the country and the world, but vulnerable groups such as people living with disabilities, single parents, elderly individuals, youth, and racialized communities are more susceptible. The effects of poverty can be expressed in different aspects of a person’s life, including food security, health, and housing. The following statistics show the different manifestations of poverty in Canada.
Basic statistics about poverty in Canada
The following are statistics about the current reality of poverty in Canada.
- 1 in 7 (or 4.9 million) people in Canada live in poverty.
- In Edmonton, 1 in 8 individuals is currently living in poverty.
- Poverty costs Canada billions of dollars annually.
- Precarious employment has increased by nearly 50% over the past two decades.
- Between 1980 and 2005, the average earnings among the least wealthy Canadians fell by 20%.
- Over the past 25 years, Canada’s population has increased by 30% and yet annual national investment in housing has decreased by 46%.Poverty & Demographics
Some members of society are particularly susceptible to the effects of poverty. The following statistics suggest groups who are particularly likely to experience poverty.
- People living with disabilities (both mental and physical) are twice as likely to live below the poverty line.
- Nearly 15% of people with disabilities live in poverty, 59% of whom are women.
- Estimates place the number of homeless individuals living with a disability or mental illness as high as 45% of the overall homeless population.
- Children with disabilities are twice as likely to live in households relying on social assistance
- 21% of single mothers in Canada raise their children while living in poverty (7% of single fathers raise their children in poverty).
- Women parenting on their own enter shelters at twice the rate of two-parent families.
- Indigenous Peoples (including First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples) are overrepresented among the homeless population in virtually all urban centres in Canada.
- 28%-34% of shelter users are Indigenous.
- 1 in 5 racialized families lives in poverty in Canada, as opposed to 1 in 20 non-racialized families.
- Racialized women living in poverty were almost twice as likely to work in manufacturing jobs than other women living in poverty.
- Overall, racialized women earn 32% less at work.
- Nearly 15% of elderly single individuals live in poverty.
- Nearly 2 million seniors receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement and live on about $17,000 per year. However, the most basic standard of living in Canada is calculated at $18,000 per year for a single person.
of Family Unit
– 12 Months
– 6 Months
|If more than seven persons, for each
additional person, add
So we can see that John though his teaching preaching caring for others as part of the fruit or signs of repentance.
Jesus even went one step further with caring for those in need.
He saw the over spending and the me first generation in his time and preached a message of self sacrifice and giving and helping others – look at how it worked in Zacchaeus.
Luke 19 :1 And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 2 And, behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus, which was the chief among the publicans, and he was rich. 3And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature. 4And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. 5And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. 6 And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. 8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. 9 And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
Salvation had come and the result of that was caring for the poor and needy.
We see Jesus even saying that when we care for those in need it is just like doing it for him.
Matt 25:31- 46
31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
As we continue on in the month of January with fasting and prayer – let us add into that repentance, to put away self and to reach out the Lord and minister to him by caring for others.
The Purpose of Fasting
Fasting is not a means to get our own way or to manipulate God but it changes us personally and the world in which we live. It gives wisdom, understanding, and revelation concerning the things of God and His will.
Fasting helps to develop a sensitivity to the presence of God as we align our will with God’s divine purposes. A more intimate relationship with God is developed through fasting.
Pray that we will recognize the call to fast as is found in the scriptures.
- Ask God to open your heart and attitude as you fast. Surrender your will so your spirit will be aligned with His divine purpose.
As you petition God, ask Him to let His love and compassion be manifest to a hurting world.
- Pray for a continual cleansing as you seek the face of God through repentance, both personally and globally.
- Ask God to let your fasting be coupled with faith so that seemingly impossible situations can be impacted for the good.
- Ask God to break the bonds of wickedness and immorality that are prevalent in our world as you fast