Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.– Romans 12:13
Over the last few verses, we have seen we ought to
- Be REAL in Our Love
- Be PURE in Our Love
- Be FERVENT in Our Love
- Be RESPECTFUL in Our Love
Here in this verse we see that we must be GENEROUS in our love – both to the saints and to strangers.
To the Saints
It is God’s will for many of the saints (Born-Again Believers) to go through life without the convenience of a bountiful supply of earthly treasure. I love how the old preacher, Matthew Henry, put this –
“It is no strange thing for saints in this world to want necessaries for the support of their natural live. In those primitive times prevailing persecutions must needs reduce many of the suffering saints to great extremities; and still the poor, even the poor saints, we have always with us. Surely the things of this world are not the best things; if they were, the saints, who are the favourites of heaven, would not be put off with so little of them.“
SURELY the earthly treasures of this world are not the best things! Else, the saints, the very favorites of heaven, would have bountiful loads of it!
We must not forget, however, that the Body of Christ consists of many different members with different roles. There are some members of the Body of Christ who have been given earthly treasure for the purpose of distribution. Many of these members have also been given the spiritual gift of giving.
Whatever amount of earthly treasure we possess, one thing we must realize is that God has called us to be GENEROUS in our love. It is good for us to think of ourselves more as STEWARDS of earthly treasure, not OWNERS, for we are not to be citizens of THIS world. The country WE belong to is HEAVENLY where gold is but the pavement. HOLINESS is the currency of that great city. It is our duty to recognize the needs of those around us and distribute to those necessities.
To the Stranger
The Greek word behind this word hospitality literally means “friend of strangers.” This suits the word “hospitality” very well. A hospitable person isn’t just friendly to people they are friends with. A true, hospitable person is a friend to strangers.
Notice first the order of the verse – saints first, strangers second. This may sound mean and uncaring to some, but this is just how the church is designed. There are many drug addicts and alcoholics who knock on church doors across the country, hoping to obtain a few dollars to support their habits when there are faithful saints in the church struggling to make ends meet. Make sure to distribute to the necessities of the saints.
Notice next that the verse doesn’t use the same words when talking about strangers as it does with the first part. We don’t read “Distributing to the necessities of STRANGERS.” This verse does not tell us to give money to strangers. Instead, we read that we are to be “given to hospitality.” It is absolutely horrible and despicable for a Born-Again Child of God to shut up their heart to a lost sinner. God loved us when we were UNLOVABLE! “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Who are we to shut up our love to others?! The next time you go out to eat, I encourage you to treat your waiter or waitress as a friend. Make them know by your actions that you care for them and love them. Whoever you meet, strive to show by your actions that you care about them. It’s a shame that church-goers have obtained for themselves a reputation of being mean, pious, and hard-hearted. The religious people mocked our Lord for being a friend of sinners (Matthew 11:19; Luke 7:34). Is that what people think of you? Are you a friend of sinners? When is the last time you were such a friend of sinners that you shared the Gospel with them? Be GENEROUS with your love!