Loving those in Need
We are to love Jesus first, even above good things like giving to the poor. It is the first and greatest commandment (Matthew 22:37-38).
Our affection for Jesus should spill over into our actions. Jesus tells us that we can love him extravagantly by loving those in need (Matthew 25:34-40). Loving those in need is at the very heart of who God is, and if we want to love and serve him, this must also become important to us.
Three ways you can love those in need:
Spend your Time.
Put yourself in the way of those in need so that you have the opportunity to love them.
Spend your Money.
Fight against the idols of money and materialism in our culture by giving beyond what you think you can afford.
Spend your Resources.
“You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion” (2 Corinthians 9:11). God pours out his blessings on his people. We should look for ways to share our blessings for the benefit of others. This includes not just material goods and resources but also the gifts of the Spirit. (Acts 3:2-8)
Read Isaiah 58.
- What is the religious culture among the Israelite's at this time according to verses 1-5? How does this compare with the culture of churches in the Western world today?
- What does God tell us is the fast that he chooses for his people? Which of these do you find most challenging?
- What promises does God make to his people if they will love others in need?
Read Matthew 9:18-38.
- What stands out to you in these verses?
- What happens as a result of Jesus healing these individuals in need?
- What do you think motivates Jesus’ actions in these passages?
- How can we get more faith to see miraculous healings like these?
Split into groups of 3-4 to share more personally and pray for one another.
- Which of the three ways to love those in need (Spend your Time; Spend your Money; Spend your Resources) is God speaking to you about?
Great Causes that Help those in Need
“If one part [of the body] suffers, every part suffers with it.” (1 Corinthians 12:26) Open Doors supports persecuted Christians with Bibles, Christian materials, training, livelihood skills, advocacy - and in a whole host of other ways - so that they know they are not forgotten and can stand strong to serve their communities.
Tearfund is a Christian charity called to follow Jesus wherever the need is greatest around the world. They seek to end poverty and work in over 50 countries.
Emergency Flood & Drought Situations as they arise
Recently, as a church, we took up a special offering to give to World Vision's aid efforts following the earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia. Consider starting a “giving budget” — money you set aside each month for extra generosity during situations like these or as other needs arise.
Wycliffe Bible Translators
Wycliffe is working to make sure everyone can hear God speak to them as they engage with the Bible in their own language. Sadly, 1.5 billion people don’t have access to the Bible in the language that speaks to them best.
Inspired by Acts 4:35 (“…and it was distributed to each as any had need.”), Acts 435 is a website that allows people to give money directly to others who need it and to choose which individual situations to give to. 100% of what is donated goes directly to those in need.
Giving to individuals in need through personal relationship
Luke and Deb give to their cousins who are missionaries in the Philippines, and Matt and Ann give to a few couples in South Africa who have very little.
Orphan Outreach is a 501(c)3 non-profit organisation dedicated to glorifying the Lord through reaching out to the millions of at-risk children throughout the world. Their mission is to glorify Jesus by ministering to orphans around the world, meeting their spiritual, physical, emotional and educational needs.
Macmillan Cancer Support
Macmillan offers support and advice to individuals who’ve been diagnosed with cancer. From advice about money and work, to someone who’ll listen if they just want to talk. A great way to support those who are affected by this tremendous evil.
Compassion releases children from poverty in Jesus name. Sponsoring a child provides them with food, education, other basic necessities, and the chance to learn about Jesus. You’ll receive a specific child to sponsor and will receive updates about their interests and development, and you’ll be able to pray for them by name.
Bethany Christian Trust
Bethany Christian Trust is a local charity fighting to end homelessness in Scotland. By partnering with churches in local communities, Bethany operates projects that prevent homelessness among those at-risk, give emergency aid and assistance to those who are currently homeless, and give extra support to those transitioning out of homelessness.