Does the Bible encourage people who are poor to ask for help, or does it put the onus on the rich to provide for the poor?
The Bible gives a pretty nuanced view of provision for the poor, which includes both proactive provision for the poor, while still requiring action on the part of the recipient.
For example, in Leviticus 19:9-10, farmers were instructed to leave the corners of their fields unharvested so the poor could come and glean. So while the rich were called to sacrifice some of their profits to provide for the poor, the poor were still required to go and harvest the food for themselves. Rather than giving them flour, for example, those in need were required to harvest grain and grind it into flour themselves. If someone was unwilling to work, in this case, they would not eat – but provision was made for them, via sacrifice on the part of those who had enough, to be able to get what they needed to survive.
A similar sentiment is found in the Epistle to the Galatians, where in Galatians 6:2 it says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ,” but a few verses later, it says, “Each person will have to bear his own load.” (Galatians 6:5). The difference is that the “burden” mentioned in 6:2 refers to a crushing burden, whereas “load” in 6:5 refers to an individual’s burden of responsibility. So, we are called to help those who are facing burdens they are unable to bear on their own, yet with the goal of helping those people to stand on their own two feet and take responsibility for themselves and their lives.
In 2 Thessalonians 3, we read an interesting passage:
If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.
2 Thessalonians 3:10-12
For some reason, there were people in the Thessalonian church were unwilling to work, and were living off the generosity of others. Some believe that the reason for this attitude is because they believed it was more spiritual not to work, since they expected the imminent return of Jesus. While Paul encouraged them that Jesus could return at any time, they were encouraged to work in order to provide for themselves if they were able. Here again, we see the importance of providing for those in need while at the same time encouraging people to take initiative and responsibility to work if they are able.
So, to answer the question: The onus is first on those who have to help provide for the poor, no matter how or why they became poor. But this generosity is not to be done in order to create dependence, but rather to relieve a burden and encourage responsibility and independence.
Local Resource: Table of Hope Food Pantry
Table of Hope Food Pantry is a ministry which was born out of White Fields Community Church in Longmont, Colorado and serves Southwest Weld County, Longmont, and the surrounding communities by providing residents in need with nutritious food, the ability to become more self-sufficient, and hope for their future.
Table of Hope is open to anyone, no questions asked, and no ID required. For more information about Table of Hope, check out Table-of-Hope.com
Project Greatest Gift works with the Health and Human Services departments of Weld, Adams, and Boulder Counties to provide Christmas gifts, as well as help with groceries and clothing for families in kinship and foster care at this time of the year. This is a practical way we, as the Body of Christ, can show the heart of God and the love of Jesus to those in need in our community.
Last year I sat down with Christine, the founder of Project Greatest Gift, to discuss its origins, the vision behind it, and how God has used it over the past 10+ years. You can watch that discussion in the video below.
You can participate in Project Greatest Gift no matter where you are located since sign-ups for sponsoring children and caretakers are now completely online!
I was given a copy of Dominic’s book when it first came out, and it sat on my shelf until I picked it up one Saturday to thumb through it, and next thing I knew I had read every word and used up an entire highlighter. I read the whole thing in one sitting because it was so fascinating, well-written, and applicable.
More recently, in September of 2021, I got to spend some time with Dominic in Colorado Springs at an Expositors Collective training weekend where he was one of our guest speakers.
We are excited for Dominic to come and speak at our church on November 14, and I encourage you: if you are within driving distance of Longmont, make sure to join us and bring someone with you who needs to here this important, helpful, and relevant message!
If you have ever struggled with doubts, or if you are curious about deconstruction: what it means, if it is a good thing or a dangerous thing – join us for this special Sunday!
This past Sunday, we studied the second half of chapter 1, in which Paul talks about “the message of the cross.” In doing so, Paul makes clear between 1:17 and 1:18 that the message of the cross is the gospel, and the gospel is the message of the cross. This message is “the power of God” for all who believe; precisely the same thing Paul says about the gospel in Romans 1:16. In other words, the gospel (the central message of Christianity) is the message of the cross.
Martin Luther wrote about the difference between a “theology of glory” and the “theology of the cross.” In this week’s Sermon Extra, I explain some of this historical context for Luther’s differentiation between the theology of glory and the theology of the cross, as well as how we can recognize theologies of glory in our modern times.
You can also listen to the podcast of this episode here:
In this week's sermon extra, Pastors Nick Cady and Michael Payne discuss Martin Luther's description of Theology of Glory vs the Theology of the Cross and how it works out in modern thinking, as well as the way to be happy.
Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/whitefieldschurch/support
You can watch the entire message from this past Sunday, “The Message of the Cross & the Power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:17-31), here:
The Bible Learning Center is something that has been on my heart for a long time, and I’m excited to see it begin.
In the past we have taught classroom-style classes at White Fields on topics such as Church History, Christocentric Hermeneutics, and more, but over the past year I handed the development of the Bible Learning Center off to a team who have really laid the groundwork for this to become more of what we originally envisioned:
I like to describe it as: “Bible college for people who don’t have time to go to Bible college.” Think: community college meets Bible college.
The Bible Learning Center will have a two-year non-accredited credit based curriculum, aimed at preparing believers for ministry in the world, whether relational or vocational. If you only want to take a few classes which interest you, that’s possible. If you want to do the entire program, which seeks to give a well-rounded offering of essential and elective classes, that is also possible.
This first semester will be limited because of COVID-19, but we will be offering three 6-week classes starting October 5, 2020:
Monday nights, 7:00 PM: Walk Through the Bible with Pastor Nick Cady
Monday nights, 7:00 PM: Worship Guitar Workshop with Pastor Michael Payne
Tuesday nights, 7:00 PM: Spiritual Transformation – a study of 1 Peter with Pastor Ken Cartlidge
This Sunday, June 7, will be our first Sunday of in-person services since the COVID-19 pandemic required churches to stop meeting in person. For the past three months we have gone online with our services (you can watch them here) and community groups, but we are excited to begin in-person services in our new building!
Wewillcontinueto provide our services online for those who cannot or should not join us in person, and we are taking precautions according to the guidelines issued by the CDC and the State of Colorado to make sure our gatherings are safe and we spread nothing but love, kindness, hope, and encouragement.
If you are local, there will be a prayer walk around the new building on Saturday, June 6 at 9:00 AM, and we would love to see you there!
Details for our in-person and online worship services:
These will be family services, which means there will be no NextGen classes for kids during service, but we will have a Wiggle Room and a Nursing Mothers Room available for those who need them.
In this video I give a walk-through of our building and share about some of the precautions we are taking:
In this video our NextGen director Michelle Pearl gives some information for family with children, including picking up NextGen lessons, what kids can do during service, and a walk through of the Wiggle Room.
We are so glad to serve the Lord and to serve you, both online and in person!