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At the Chalmers Center, it’s our mission to equip local churches to address the broken relationships at the root of poverty, living out Jesus’s kingdom today. We do a lot of thinking about how Christians can best show love to the materially poor. Sometimes, what we think is helpful is not. (See When Helping Hurts.) Often, it takes a long time to see results from this work, and we—and the churches we serve—are always adjusting and learning and then readjusting.
One thing we know for sure is that, as followers of Jesus, we are called to give generously and sacrificially to the work of the church and to our brothers and sisters in times of need. We do this because we’re commanded to (Prov. 19:17; Acts 20:35), and it’s easy to see why. Generosity is as good for the giver as for the receiver.
Way - Love - Others - Kingdom - God
But is giving the only way to show economic love to others and demonstrate the kingdom of God to a watching world?
The same Paul who rousingly called the Corinthian church to financial generosity toward a suffering Jerusalem church also instructed believers to provide for the needs of the saints in different ways. He told the Thessalonian church to seek work and contribute faithfully to the good of the community as an antidote to idleness and disruptive behavior (2 Thess. 3:6–15). He told Ephesian and Colossian Christians to work as though they were serving the Lord himself in all they did—even if they were enslaved (Eph. 6:5-6; Col. 3:23–24). And he reminded churches to pay their teachers (1 Tim. 5:17–18).
Paul - God-given - Goodness - Work - Part
In this, Paul hearkens back to the God-given goodness of work, which was part of creation before the fall (Gen. 1:28; 2:15). From the beginning, creation was designed to be made even more fruitful through the work of our hands.
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What's more plentiful, hydrogen or stupidity?