In the Good Old Summertime

Ah summertime!
A time when people love to get out of the house and into the great outdoors!

Now that summer has arrived here in the northern hemisphere, traffic to this blog will begin to drop off (not that it really sees that much traffic anyway). It also seems to affect the frequency of fresh blog posts from other bloggers as well.

I can’t help but wonder, does this mean more people are getting out to help their neighborhood and their community? Or does it mean people are more focused on taking time for themselves – such as vacations and so forth?

I’ll bet it is the latter.

Why is it we think more about helping those less fortunate than ourselves around the “Holiday Season”? What does a seasonal holiday have to do with the needs of others? Are they in greater need around the holidays? I don’t think so. Yet, we act like they are. We have coat drives and toy drives and food drives, and blood drives — but is it really about helping them? Or is it more about trying to ease our sense of guilt for having a roof over our head and food in the fridge and family and friends to celebrate the holiday with?

I think it’s the latter.

People are just as much in need during the warm summer months as they are in the cool winter months. People still need food, shelter, clothing, medical attention and so forth. Even so, donations to valid and valuable charities has been down for several years now. So has church attendance. We blame it on the economy, but the real culprit is our heart. This is proven out in Paul’s’ second letter to the church in Corinth, wherein Paul praised the churches in Macedonia for giving far beyond their means…

We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints—and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. (2 Corinthians 8:1-5, ESV)

The churches in Macedonia were severely poverty-stricken themselves, yet out of the abundance of their heart, they found a way to give more than any of the other churches outside of Macedonia gave. What does that say about us today?

Are you still here with me? Or does this topic make you uncomfortable? More than likely the people who need to consider what I am sharing here will never read this post. So I will simply appeal to those who are reading this to encourage yourself and others to take stock of your heart when it comes to meeting the needs of others with the love of Christ. For that is what TRUE MINISTRY is all about and that is what those in Christ have been called to do – to personally minister to those in need around you.

Just placing your tithe in the offering plate and leaving it up to others to decide where the money goes and how it is used is not being salt and light in a dark and hurting world. It is not being an active part of the body of Christ. It is being spiritually lazy and slovenly and lines up exactly with what James wrote about in his letter…

Faith Without Works Is Dead
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:14-17, ESV)

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