Needs of the Needy


If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? James 2:15-16


The grocery store I frequent must have a growing reputation among charities as a place where you can collect a lot of cash. There has been a different “charity” there several times recently.

I am pretty picky about who I support. If you are not a biblically based ministry, chances are you are not getting my money.

So, this week’s Ministry had a very biblical name, “New Life Ministries.” The woman collecting donations caught my attention. I didn’t automatically give her anything but asked for a brochure. I told her I would get back to her on my way out.

As I read over the brochure I saw things like, “Agape House Transitional Shelters,” and “Bread of Life Food Ministries.” There was a list of services they provide for people who are poverty-stricken, addicted, homeless, jobless, considering abortion, or who have limited education.

Their mission included “to promote spiritual restoration.” It was looking somewhat interesting – though how can any one agency provide so much to so many groups?

From the brochure, I was disheartened to see that their primary goal is: “To develop relationships with federal, state, and local agencies that address the various human service needs, and serve as a liaison for people needing assistance.”

Government agencies are not going to provide “spiritual restoration.” In fact, they usually help people maintain (or increase) their current level of dependency on the state (or federal or local) governments for assistance.

Where is the Church? This “faith based” ministry said that they “seek churches to commit support through prayer, talent, time, and resources.” But, if government programs are where they send people, once the referral is made, what more talent and resources are they looking for?

When I think about the things the government has “provided,” like welfare, education, medical insurance, and even social security, they have proven themselves incapable of doing it without creating an allegiance to the state and denying God in the process.

I had to stop and think about how many of these agencies begging for money who claim to be “faith based” ministries I have mindlessly handed a few dollars thinking I am doing something good.

What I realized about this agency is that I would be giving them money to make referrals to others who actually do the work of providing for the needs of others with (mostly) our taxes. It feels like giving twice.

We are to be generous to those in need. We are to give without complaining. As James 2 (above) indicates, we are not to ignore or dismiss the one in need.

But don’t miss the big implication in his admonition.  It indicates that we have to be discerning about the “needs of the needy.”

If we support “ministries” that rely on the government to provide – who is discerning the need and who is getting our money?

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  1. Cindy Ireland Says:

    Very timely post and good advice give all that is going on in Texas.

  2. admin Says:

    Thanks Cindy. The “opportunities” to give are endless.
    It’s good to hear from you.

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