By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Stealing and taking from others is wrong. We all understand we should be willing to work for what we want in life. The apostle Paul takes it a step further when explaining why stealing is wrong.
Ephesians 4:28 (ESV): Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.
The apostle Paul wants the church to understand it is not enough to make an honest living. Those who have are expected to share with those in need. Paul wants to make sure Christians understand it is not enough to abstain from wrongdoing, but we are to live a righteous life. As James says under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works”. By faith, we will share our blessings with others in need. It is faith in Jesus Christ that reminds us all of our blessings come from above, and that we have an obligation to use it to further His kingdom. When we give to those in need, we provide a testimony to the righteousness of God.
Acts 20:35 (ESV): In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’
We have the ability to help on an individual basis or through our donations to the church. The church uses the money it receives to spread the word of God. This can be accomplished through support of local shelters and Christian schools; as well as supporting the needy within their congregation. We also have the ability to provide support on a personal level. We can see someone in need and contribute to that need. Individuals may choose to raise money for someone who was in a car accident and needs surgery. They may bring food or fill up the gas-tank of someone who recently lost their job. Someone may support training or paying down a hospital bill of a member who cannot afford to pay for it on his or her own. The best way I have heard it stated is this; getting into heaven is not as much about what you are not doing as much as it is about what you are doing. We do not have the ability to earn our way into heaven on our own. It is not about sinning fewer times than another, as the wages of all sin is death. It is the action of accepting Jesus Christ in baptism that provides us the ability to be saved. Naturally, abstaining from wrongdoing is a good thing and expected from God. However, the expression of our faith through our actions is what truly reflects Christ to others.