Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Caring for the Poor (13) - Daily Food Distributions

Christians four main methods for helping the poor. The first is the Daily Food Distribution.

During times of crisis and in poor countries, Deacons should organise a daily distribution of food to those who are poor. For example, the apostles organised a “daily distribution of food” in Jerusalem (Acts 6:2).

Regular distributions of food may not be necessary during more normal times. The focus will shift to caring for widows and others who have fallen into hardship. Some pragmatic principles for this work are outlined in Paul’s letter to Timothy. The aim was to focus on those with real needs.

Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need (1 Tim 5:3).
Some of these widows might have been the wives of martyrs. Help is only provided to those with genuine needs.
  1. Poor people who are unwilling to work should not receive help (2 Thes 3:10).

  2. People with families should seek help from that source first. They should only go to the church if their family are unable to help (1 Tim 5:4).

  3. Poor people receiving help should be expected to help the church by devoting themselves to prayer (1 Tim 5:5).

  4. People who live for pleasure should not be helped (1 Tim 5:6).

  5. Young widows should remarry rather than remain dependent on the church for a long time (1 Tim 5:11-15).

Four principles will shape the efforts of the church to care of the poor.
  1. Efforts should focus on those in serious need.

  2. Care should normally be short term. People were encouraged to take steps that would enable them to support themselves.

  3. Most attention will be given to older widows who are unable to care for themselves. The church should always be the last resort for those seeking help.

  4. Care for the poor should function at the local level where the people are known.

  5. Caring within relationships is essential.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

There is no 2 Thes 5:10

Blessed Economist said...

Good spotting. I have corrected it to 1 Thes 3:10