Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor…Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (Gal 6:6-10 NIV)
What does a Christian do with that money and property that he does not need for his and his families daily support and nurture? I am presupposing that such Christians take care of their own people, their parents and even relatives. Even taking this into account many Christians still have more than required for these basic family needs. The Holy Scripture does not know much about storage and putting away for years to come. That is why it gives this practical suggestion of sharing with the instructors of the congregation. Besides that the care of poor siblings in the faith is entrusted to his conscience and finally all those that need support and care – even beyond the congregational borders. Obviously there is no need for this sharing if no need exists, yet the helping hand should reach out to those who are in need. In the early years of the Church teachers, pastors and bishops of the Church lived off those gifts donated by the congregation on the altar. The teachers were not ashamed to receive and the congregation was willing and grateful to give. All of them lived from day to day by the grace of their Lord Jesus Christ looking forward to the promised eternal life. In the same way it worked with those in the family of believers. Whoever supported the needy in the Church supported the Church at the same time, for she upholds and proclaims the gospel. The mild light of love shone brightly in the Church giving her good reason to and calling the unbelievers to Church and eternal life too.
Lord – our God! We thank you for the good gifts with which you have filled our hands and homes, so that we have more than enough to share with those in need. Show us the need of your Church and also that of her members here and abroad. Open our hearts and hands to gladly share and offer with deeds of loving kindness and mercy. Bless our gifts that they may confirm our brothers and sisters in the faith and establish them on the firm foundation of the gospel. Grant to us that as members of the one body of Jesus Christ we would share sorrows and cares amongst each other and grow steadfastly in the communion with you and towards you as our head – Jesus Christ. Amen.
Yea, Lord, ’twas Thy rich bounty gave My body, soul, and all I have In this poor life of labor. Lord, grant that I in every place May glorify Thy lavish grace And serve and help my neighbor. Let no false doctrine me beguile, Let Satan not my soul defile. Give strength and patience unto me To bear my cross and follow Thee. Lord Jesus Christ, My God and Lord, my God and Lord, In death Thy comfort still afford. (Martin Schalling 1567 tr Chatherine Winkworth, 1863)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Friday after the fifteenth Sunday after the high holiday and festival of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 325 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu! (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.