Responsibilities of the Church Day 5 – Support Its Members
“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24, ESV)
“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:10, ESV)
If anyone has ever been held by their church family in the middle of a trial, you know the value of supporting one another. Scripture refers to it in this way: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). When I’ve experienced my own hardships in life, supportive fellow believers who seek to help carry my burden have immediately reached out. What happens when they do this? My load is much lighter.
The church will see many needs within their congregations and their respective communities. Why might it be the responsibility of the church to help support those in need? I think just looking at the life of Jesus shows us the emphasis He put on meeting people’s needs. He prayed for people. He healed people. He fed the hungry. He showed compassion for those hurting. He served others and considered their needs above His own. He wept for those with broken hearts. He placed His mother into the care of John at the time of His death and departure from this world. He gathered children to Himself. And more than anything else, He met the spiritual needs of the lost. His example is one that loudly models to us the importance of supporting one another.
A few years ago, I experienced tremendous heartache. The hurt I felt was a hurt my own church family felt with me. They prayed for me—often! They came by and brought meals and flowers, performed necessary home repairs, and offered their company when I was lonely. They cried with me, listened to me and offered me compassion and love—a gift I needed and greatly treasured. They took on my burden and lightened it for me by offering the support I desperately needed at that time. My own “household of faith” surely did good to me, upholding their end of Galatians 6:10. What a privilege it is to be a part of God’s family!
If you’re part of a church that supports one another in a tangible and meaningful way, thank the Lord for that. If you’re not, there is something gravely wrong, something against the pattern we read in Scripture. The church isn’t necessarily obligated to financially support every wish and whim you may have, but it does have an obligation to help meet the needs of those in its fellowship. This may include financial needs in addition to physical, emotional and, of course, spiritual needs we have.
The church can also best display the character of Christ when it steps into the needs of its own local community. By feeding the hungry, volunteering to help those suffering abuse, contributing toward the needs of the homeless, and taking the gospel to the lost, we can be the hands and feet of Jesus in our own communities. Our support inside church walls is crucial to its health, but we have great opportunity to reflect the light of Christ when we extend that support into our communities.
May this be our own reminder today that while the church has a responsibility to support its members, we, individually, are a part of that. I am responsible because I am a part of the Body of Christ. What am I doing to step into the needs of those around me and within my own church family? Am I willing to step into the needs of others and be a support to them, or do I find myself on the receiving end but giving little? Let’s consider this Scripture reference in our closing: “And the King [Christ] will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’” (Matthew 25:40, NLT).