The Northfield

  2535 Shore Road

  Northfield, NJ 08225

  (609)646-1181

Church of Christ

11/30/2009

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A Benevolent Life


"The disciples, each according to his ability, decided to provide help for the brothers living in Judea" (Acts 11:29).

The 1906 San Francisco earthquake...1980 Mt. St. Helens volcano....2005 Hurricane Katrina...2007 Greensburg, KS tornado....I have gone through about a century of natural disasters here and am asking you what they had in common. You would probably not have to do very much digging for information to find that in each of these occurrences, some churches quickly came forward. They were probably among the first responders, ready with food, water, clothes and shelter. Churches, by their nature, respond when disaster strikes. It is just something that we do. We have an interesting Biblical precedent in today's verse. The church at Antioch of Syria heard through the prophet Agabus, of a famine that would spread over the entire Roman world.(It happened during the reign of the emperor Claudius).

One of the striking aspects, of this event, at least to me is this. The church at Antioch was primarily a Gentile one while the churches in Judea were Jewish Christians. This didn't even appear as a blip on the radar screen for the Antioch Christians. "Each according to his ability, decided to provide help for the brothers living in Judea." Maybe if you or I had been in this situation and had heard that a great famine was on the way would be stockpiling food and money for our own use. It would be a prudent thing to do. The church at Antioch may have done this later, but their first reaction was one of compassion and benevolence. It seems like their first concern was not for themselves, but for their brothers. Even though they would be affected by the same famine too, they realized that they were much better off financially than those in Jerusalem. They gave generously, without hesitation. "This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul" (V 30).

What a wonderful example they set for us. We may not think of ourselves as rich. Many of our congregations are more than likely not wealthy ones either. But there are ALWAYS others who are in deeper poverty than we are. These are the ones that the members of the Antioch were taking care of. They are the ones that we should be looking to help also.

Have a great week....It would be a good day for a RAK.....Love mark Phil. 4:11

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