Why should our church be involved in ministries of mercy like Operation Christmas Child, the Thanksgiving meal outreach, or CrossPurpose through Providence Bible Church of Denver? Five reasons:
First, benevolence to the poor is good for the soul. Generous giving, Paul says, “benefits you” (2 Cor 8:10). Jesus Himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Giving away our money and time helps free us from greed and cultivates humility. In other words, the elders encourage you to be involved in mercy ministry because we love you and want what is best for you!
Second, Paul explicitly says that one of the reasons we work hard and earn money is because not everyone can. God has given some people earning power and withheld it from others. Those who have the ability and opportunity should “work with their own hands, so that they may have something to share with anyone in need” (Eph 4:28).
Third, multiple texts in the Bible clearly indicate that God’s people must show preferential attention to the poor and needy. For example, Jesus Himself instructs us: “Give to everyone who begs from you” (Lk 6:30). And the Apostle John wrote: “If anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” (1 Jn 3:17)
Fourth, an important part of the gospel is how it reverses the physical aspects of the curse, including the deprivation, injustice, and neglect that came with it. The gospel is holistic, affecting soul and body. When Jesus the King came to earth and gave us a preview of His kingdom, it included healing the sick and feeding the hungry. Jesus didn’t come to get people ready for heaven; He came to bring a little bit of heaven to them. He stood against every form of evil and disintegration that tore their lives apart: poverty, captivity, blindness, oppression, and disfavor. Our culture calls it “justice.” The Bible calls it “shalom” or “blessedness.”
Fifth, caring for the poor is conduct that conforms to the “shape” of the gospel, specifically, the description of the gospel in 2 Cor 8:9: “You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”