Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

“Every Cup Counts”


     I understand the limited responsibility of the local church in regard to benevolence.  My concern is this: our preacher has been presenting lessons about how we should be helping out the poor and that the Bible commands it.  The problem is:

  1. I'm not exactly rich; in fact, I'm barely making ends meet.  But now I'm feeling sort of guilty after these sermons.
  2. If I try to help the needy, how do I do it?  I mean, do I go out and try to find a poor person or give to the guy standing on the corner with a "Please Help Me Feed My Kids" sign?

I am a single woman with no retirement plan, no medical insurance, and a job that is "on call" and lucky if I get in a 32-hour work week.  I know our idea of poverty in this country doesn't come close to real poverty faced in other nations, but I'm feeling pretty strapped right now.  How do I fulfill my Christian responsibility to help the needy like our preacher says we should?

Times Are Tight

Dear Times Are Tight,

In order to fulfill the command to help the poor, we must have both means and opportunity.  2 Cor 8:12 tells us that God only holds us accountable for what we are physically able to do.  You can’t give millions of dollars to charity if you don’t have millions of dollars to give!  So take comfort; God doesn’t expect you to give beyond your capabilities.
In fact, the story of the widow and the mites in Lk 21:1-4 makes it clear that amount isn’t important to God, but effort is.  As opportunities arise in your life to help those who are in need (needs can be physical, financial, emotional, etc.) – fulfill them.  After all, Jesus said that even a cup of cold water counts when it comes to helping His service (Matt 10:42).