September 23, 2015

Easy and Difficult Sharing

Romans 12:9-13

Share with the Lord’s people who are in need.

—  Romans 12:13

No one wants to be a “charity case” or someone else’s “project.” Nonetheless, all of us have needs. No one can live independently. We are utterly dependent on other people to build things like roads and cars and houses. We need others to raise our food and provide resources like electricity and gas. We need to be in relationship with other people. We need friendships and love.

Because we all have needs, the apostle Paul calls us to share with each other freely.

Some people are easy to share with—a friend who breaks her leg, a coworker who has surgery. But some needs are more intense. A severe heart attack, a major depression, a death, or a divorce can create significant, additional needs for many months. Sometimes church communities respond well to help someone with significant additional needs.

Sometimes churches struggle, however, with helping to meet long-term needs. Some people don’t “get better.” People who have long-term needs tend to be forgotten after a while: shut-ins, people who develop serious physical or mental health disabilities, people with chronic pain or autism or dementia.

Paul calls us to share not only with God’s people who are easy to share with, but also with God’s people whose needs and hurts are deep and long.

God, you sent your Son to suffer and die for us. Help me to share with others what you have already given me. Make me, and your church, generous. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Mark Stephenson

Rev. Mark Stephenson is the Director of Disability Concerns for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Previously he served in two congregations in Michigan. He and his wife have four children.

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