Meeting the Needs of Other Believers
Distributing to the necessity of saints.… — Romans 12:13
One of the most exciting things our ministry does is meet the needs of pastors who are leading congregations in the former Soviet Union. We feel a deep commitment to help these pastors because they haven’t had the same opportunity for education that exists in Western countries. As a result of the revival that has swept across the former USSR since the collapse of communism, scores of pastors have found themselves leading congregations before they could receive any training to equip them for the job. These pastors are doing all they know to do in their leadership positions, but they are often ill-prepared for the task due to lack of teaching, training, and education.
Because of the work of our Church Association, pastors and leaders who formerly felt isolated and alone have now become spiritually “linked” to other pastors. Close friendships have formed as these pastors look to each other for support, fellowship, and spiritual encouragement. But in addition to providing this spiritual fellowship, our ministry has also become a channel through which designated offerings are routed to support many of these pastors whose income is not sufficient to support them full-time in the ministry.
You see, so many of these pastors live in villages that were economically devastated by the collapse of the Soviet Union. Because of this dire financial crisis, churches do not yet have the finances to support their pastor full-time, even though they desperately need a full-time pastor. Today many of these pastors are able to serve full-time because of the financial gifts that we channel to them each month. Because of the gifts of our ministry partners, we have been able to distribute funds to meet the needs of these saints.
It is very easy for us as believers to get so caught up in our own projects and plans that we forget about the needy people in the world who need our help. This is precisely why Paul encouraged us to be constantly “distributing to the necessity of saints…” (Romans 12:13). Especially at this time of the year when people are in a spirit of giving, I think it is important to look for ways to bless people who are less fortunate than ourselves. Every day we should pray and ask the Lord how He wants to use us to make a difference in someone else’s life.
The word “distributing” is the Greek word koinoneo, which means to share or to give some kind of contribution. In the context of Romans 12:13, it means to give a financial contribution. However, the Greek tense suggests that this is not an occasional act but rather a regular, consistent, habitual contributing of finances for the “necessity of saints.” That word “necessity” is the Greek word chreia, and it simply means a need. In other words, Paul is talking here about giving to meet the basic needs of the saints.
It is true that there are many humanitarian organizations to which we can give our money, but the apostle Paul loudly tells us that we are to first give to meet the needs of the “saints.” Certainly it is right to meet the needs of fellow believers first; after all, they are our brothers and sisters. First John 3:17 asks us, “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother hath need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” When we know there is a need, it is time for us to act. This is why the apostle John goes on to say, “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18).
Even if you have been struggling financially to make ends meet, I guarantee you that there are believers in other parts of the world — or perhaps even close to where you live — who are having a more difficult time than you are right now. Rather than be self-focused and feel sorry for yourself, why don’t you take advantage of this special time of the year to go out of your way to do something special for someone else? Send an extra offering to a ministry that you support. Give a gift to help the poor and needy. Assess the needs of the saints as you become aware of them; then let the Holy Spirit lead you in distributing your financial gifts. Discover the joy of helping to meet the needs of fellow brothers and sisters who truly need any help you can give them!
This article was adapted from Sparkling Gems from the Greek by Rick Renner.