Counsel of Chalcedon
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Biblical Charity: Ministering to the Poor Through the Church

"Let him who stole, steal no more, but let him work with his hands in order that he may have something to give to him who has need," Eph. 4:28, (Acts 20:35).

Jesus said, "The poor you always have with you," Mat. 26:11. I can certainly bear witness to the truth of that. One of the perennial pastoral problems that I face is ministering to the poor, especially those who call on the telephone and show up at the door or even in the worship service. It is clearly an issue that needs to be addressed and decided in advance how you will handle or respond to these requests for funds. Also, it is very difficult to even know how to address the needs in the local congregation so that, as in Acts 6, some are not overlooked, and needs are cared for, without supporting those who are not deserving. How can we attack the problem of poverty? Whose job is it? Who are the "poor" that we are to help? How are we to help them? Our own goal, even through impoverishment of ourselves (2 Cor. 8-9), is to minister to the poor of the people of God (Deut.15:4), and to the world, Isa. 58:6-8.