jump to navigation

Bearing one another’s burdens May 21, 2012

Posted by Henry in Matters of the Faith.
Tags: , , , , , ,
trackback

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Gal 6:2)

 

Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy (Matt 5:7)

 

A number of years ago I was faced with a situation where a sister from another church, someone I worked with at the time, needed financial assistance. I asked the sister if she would not approach her church for assistance. She said that whilst there was a welfare office in the church she did not feel comfortable approaching it for assistance because of how she would appear to her fellow church members and she felt she would be stigmatised.  The question I would like to raise is why should church members that are in difficulty and in need feel uncomfortable to approach their church for help? Could it be because the church today, unlike the early church, does not foster a culture of sharing and caring for one another within their congregation?

 

The church today is not short of teachings and admonitions to “give generously” or “give sacrificially” but what exactly is the church being asked to give to? What I do not witness is admonitions to the church members to give to those around them who are in need. When was the last time you heard a sermon on giving to the poor and the needy? In fact when asked, some preachers tell their members that they cannot give their tithes to other causes aside from the church but that “the whole tithe” must be brought into the “storehouse” – the church building. Has the church stopped teaching the law and commandments of Jesus Christ? It is a mistake to think that we are fulfilling the law of Christ in giving to the church (the administrative structure), which will in turn give some of the takings to a charity. Jesus said in Luke 6:30 “give to everyone who ask you” and He is speaking to individuals here. But what the church mainly teach today is to give to “the work of the church” whether it be the local church or ones in distant lands appealing for funds on TV. They encourage you to “prayerfully consider partnering” with them but never do they teach the church to fulfil the law of Christ in bearing each other’s burdens. How can we declare then that we are the called of Christ yet we do not fulfil His law by helping one another? Does this not undermine our credibility? The problem with giving to the church in tithes and offerings is that one may easily get into a mindset where they feel that they have done their duty already (in “giving to God”) and therefore the portion of their income which remains is theirs and they can’t afford to give away anymore. Many may therefore be ignoring Christ’s commands to give to everyone who asks of them, because in line with what they have been taught it is up to the church to distribute to those in need. Sometimes I do wonder however if it is the case that people do not really believe we need to observe Christ’s teachings to the full. Did Christ not say that we should not only be hearers of the word but doers of the word? Have we become like the Pharisees who, instead of honouring their fathers and mothers instead say that whatever help they would otherwise give them is a gift devoted to God (Matt 15:4-5)? Perhaps it should be said that we cannot be doers of the word if it is not being preached to us and we are not hearing it.

 

Many people today pay their tithes not necessarily because they believe they are fulfilling God’s will but because they have been led to believe that this is the way to access the blessings of God. But Christ says, blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy. We need to show mercy to our brothers and sisters in Christ but not only they for we are also called to love our neighbour as ourselves. Paul in Gal 6:10 also encourage us to do good unto ALL men. What surprises me therefore is how little emphasis is placed on such teachings today and even the world is showing us a better example today. To cite an example, the Evening Standard newspaper ran a campaign over the last few years to highlight the extent of poverty that many people are faced with here in Britain but more in London. They found that more than half of children in London lived below the poverty line. Despite the fact that Britainis a very rich developed country there are still a lot of people in abject poverty but it is usually not visible to most of us. I am sure that a lot of these poor people do go to church too. What are our churches doing to alleviate the plight of these poor? One church body in the UK reported total income from parishes to over £800 million in 2009. This church’s expenditure however amounted to almost the figure that was raised with only £50 million going to charitable causes. There are established churches in the UK that own and control vast wealth, namely in property and other assets yet people are still suffering in poverty. To cite another example from Greece, the Telegraph newspaper reported that the church have amassed wealth of over £700 billion Euros and this amounts to twice the national debt (1).

 

How can the church retain such vast wealth whilst people the world over are living in extreme poverty? Surely the church should be doing more in terms of giving away most of what they collect to those in need instead of hoarding it. The church members themselves are also guilty of helping to maintain this status quo by mindlessly giving their money to churches that hoard it, instead of heeding the scriptures in bearing each other’s burdens. What will the church do with such wealth on judgement day when Jesus Christ shall put in His appearance? This is the question that every church body that stores wealth should be considering very seriously.

 

(1) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/8790126/Wealth-of-churches-vs-the-wealth-of-people.html

Advertisements

Comments»

1. So, Why Do People Really Go To Church? | Social Behavioral Patterns–How to Understand Culture and Behaviors - May 23, 2012

[…] Bearing one another’s burdens (spiritofdiscernment.wordpress.com) […]

2. Reana - October 14, 2012

Brother Henry, hope all is well with you and your household.

I have read a few of your post thus far and this is my first time writing a comment. I have agreed with you on your idea of unity with scripture and the reader, even for the Word sake. And a persons attitude shows much of a person spiritual state. Why would anyone who claims to love the lord God be satisfied with only part of the truth? Rather it be doctrine for salvation or other truths of the bible, wouldn’t, you just want to know because of your love for the truth?
Many have and hold onto their beliefs without examining and re-examing themselves, this is vital if we as believers are to know if we are still in the truth or Faith. I know there be many that are stubborn and instead of seeing and accepting their error they rather risk their salvation.

Now to comment on your post, I am reminded of a certain church that spent a half a million dollars on the landscaping of their church, that or it was spent just on this sculpture made of bronze or something. I don ‘t remember completely. But I do remember how I thought it was wasteful or that money could have been used more productively. I see and hear about many elders in the churches abusing their positions. Simply out of greed and not caring for the flock. When did it become ok fo r one man to get rich off of the sacrifice of many? While many around them don ‘t know where their next meal will be.
Ok will have to cut this respond short my head is hurting from exhaustion.

3. Henry - October 16, 2012

Sister Reana,
Thanks for reading my posts and commenting. Indeed it is true that we need to check our beliefs against the scriptures to see if whether or not we are on the right path. But as you say many are stubborn and will not want to do this and will indeed risk their salvation.

In regards to your second point, I am with you in that it is wrong for a church to spend/waste money on things such as sculpture or landscaping. They forget that the people themselves is the ‘church building’ which Christ is building and that this is the ‘building’ which needs to be taken care of and not the physical building which will be burnt up at Christ’s coming. The ministers who do these things are earthly minded this is why they create an earthly attraction to entice people so that they can then get rich off the takings resulting from fuller pews. This is indeed sad but this happens because the people in these churches refuse to exercise discernment.

4. So, Why Do People Really Go To Church? | Ronnie Murrill - August 27, 2013

[…] Bearing one another’s burdens (spiritofdiscernment.wordpress.com) […]

5. Isidro K. Delgado - September 4, 2013

We, who claim to be followers of Jesus, are called to come alongside of you, pray for you, walk with you, and help shoulder your burden. The sad thing today is that in many churches the burdens of those who are hurting are ignored, because people don’t want to get into other folk’s business, or they don’t know what to say or do. We’ve come to see the church, and the activities that take place in the church, as the same as the Civic Center or the local sports arena. We believe that the church, like the Civic Center or the sports arena, is a place where we go to be entertained. We just sit back and watch the players while we soak it all in. That is a wrong view of the church.

6. Henry - September 13, 2013

Isidro,
Thanks for dropping by. You are absolutely right. The attitude of a lot of churches these days is exactly as you describe. We have left the one who has called us by Christ Jesus a long time ago and we now “play at church” instead of performing the works that we are called to do.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s