the weblog of Alan Knox

What if they thought of the church?

Posted by on Oct 9, 2009 in missional, service | 8 comments

Two years ago, before our family started spending time in “The Neighborhood“, I wrote a post called “What if they thought of the church?” The post was about some of the people that we already knew who lived in that government assisted housing development. I wondered out loud what would happen if the people in that neighborhood thought that the church cared enough to help them…


What if they thought of the church?

Last week, I published a short post called “Missional Christians in 360 AD“, commenting on the how Emperor Julian recognized that Christians took care of the poor and needy, even the poor and needy who were not Christians. Last Sunday evening, as I met together with some brothers and sisters to pray and discuss service opportunities, I thought about Emperor Julian again.

One of the ladies who meets with us on Sunday morning lives in government housing in our town. When we first met her, a man was living with her because he needed medical attention. He had been in the hospital, and when he was released, no one would take care of him, so she took him in. As I’ve gotten to know here, I’ve found that she is one of the most giving and caring persons that I know – even in the very difficult situation in which she finds herself.

A few weeks ago, another unit opened up in the government housing facility. They allowed the man to move out of her apartment, into the open apartment. However, he had nothing for his apartment – no furniture, no kitchen utensils, no dishes, etc. Nothing. Our friend asked her brothers and sisters in Christ for help. They responded by providing everything he needed plus more.

As we were discussing possible ministry opportunities last Sunday evening, I thought about this lady and her friend. What would happen if other people in the government housing facility heard about the generosity of the church? What would happen if they began to think about the church when they were in need? What would happen if they asked our friend if we would be willing to help them as well?

This may sound like a never-ending cycle of giving and giving and giving… perhaps to some people who would take advantage of our generosity.

But, would it not be amazing for people to begin turning to the church again when they were in need? I hope the church would be willing to trust God to provide for those needs.


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 10-9-2009

    i’m a welfare worker and i wish i heard of this sort of stuff being done by churches so that i could tell people that they can get help at the church. i’m not hearing much of that though.

  2. 10-9-2009

    That has the potential to turn our world upside down. Seems I’ve heard of that somewhere before.

  3. 10-9-2009

    Hey what are you trying to do here? Be obedient to Christ or something?

  4. 10-9-2009


    Please pray that I can align my life in a way that helps me help others. It is funny because my entire life I was taught that life was in the abundance (or at least the resources to have the abundance) of things. Work hard, go to school, get a nice car, nice house, raise a nice family. But as I have matured in the scriptures I realize that this isn’t what Jesus would have us die for (because most of us are dying for all of the above). He wants us to die (maybe not physically) so that we may live for others and I need His grace to do that.

  5. 10-9-2009


    Thank you for the comment. Its nice to hear from someone on the “inside” of the issue.


    Yeah, I’ve read that somewhere too.


    I know… radical, right?


    Yes, I’ll pray for you and your family if you pray for me and mine.


  6. 10-10-2009

    Christions only think of themselves. I’m not a christian. I’m a Hindu. I’m the Top Hindu. The Brahman. You do not choose what you want to be. God chooses it for you by giving you birth in the home of Brahmans or others. The idea is not to think of others but of yourself although God wants others to think of Brahmams if they want to reach God like Jesus told his followers that you can reach God only through Jesus. But Hindu Scriptures say you can reach God only by thinking of Brahmans by giving them Dakshina in the form of money clothers, property and even milk cows. Right now I live in a city and would not be able to keep a cow if somebody gave me a cow. I know the blood of all the christians will begin to boil. But probably the Christian Moderator will probably nor clear my comment.

  7. 10-11-2009

    Re, “As I’ve gotten to know here, I’ve found that she is one of the most giving and caring persons that I know – even in the very difficult situation in which she finds herself.”

    In the book Joshua, there is a scene where Joshua is visiting a very poor family. He gives little animals carved out of wood to the two children. As he is leaving, the woman hands him a jar of preserves she made. Joshua comments, “only the poor have enough to give.”

    (Sadly, this line did not get into the movie version. It is the best line in the book, and has proven true too often.)

  8. 10-11-2009


    Thank you for pointing out a big difference between Hindu teachings and Jesus’ teachings. This morning, one of my brothers taught from Matthew 22, where Jesus says that the “greatest” commandment is to love God, and the second, which is like the first, is to love our neighbors. In fact, Jesus says that all other commands of God are built on these two. John, one of Jesus’ first apostles, said that we cannot love God if we do not love (and demonstrate that love to) other people.


    “Only the poor have enough to give…” That’s a good line.