I couldn’t help but be challenged and encouraged when I read Sarah’s (from “accidental blog“) report called “An Inspiring Financial Report/Budget” about HOME PDX, “church for those who live outside” in the Portland area. Apparently, this report originated from Ken, who received $2500 in donations. What did this group of believers do with these donations?
A partial rundown:
$700 for our friends who were burned out of their squat. Backpacks,shoes, pants, gear
$1,300 (and counting) for our young friend in a tight spot with lung cancer. Transportation, medical supplies, chewing tobacco (come on, it’s better than having him smoke), food, living expenses, etc.
$180 for a young man new in town. Sleeping bag, back pack, cell phone. (He’s indoors and has a job now.)
$280 for tools and cell phone for a carpenter with hepatitus B. He’s indoors, is healing up. He’s also connected with the carpenter’s union now.
$89 for a bus ticket to Boise for a young friend who had a job waiting there for him.
$60 to a friend in prison for toiletries (you have to buy your own soap,washcloths, shaving stuff, etc. in there)
$350 for other cell phones. It is nearly impossible to get a job or housing without one.
As I read this report, I couldn’t help but think about these passages of Scripture in which Luke describes the church immediately after Pentecost:
And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. (Acts 2:45 ESV)
There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. (Acts 4:34-35 ESV)
And, since I’m studying the Book of Deuteronomy for a seminar, I was also reminded of this passage:
At the end of every three years you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in the same year and lay it up within your towns. And the Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance with you, and the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, who are within your towns, shall come and eat and be filled, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands that you do. (Deuteronomy 14:28-29 ESV)
Of course, this is not what we’re usually taught about tithing. How would the “church” ever have any money in the bank and how would they pay their employees if we gave our money to those who were in need… those who couldn’t give back in return? (Of course, some may suggest that the church employees are the equivalent of the “Levites” in the Deuteronomy passage. My response? Do we ever see that connection made in Scripture?)
Honestly… the report of the church giving away all of the donations that were given to them is very refreshing. I wonder what would happen if every church started giving away their donations to those who were in need…