Distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. — Romans 12: 13
We are to be a source of blessing for our neighbour.
Apostle Paul describes a task that applies to every child of God.
The saints are believers who have been sanctified by the sacrifice of Jesus as well as through the efficacy of the Holy Spirit in word and sacrament. In order to recognize the needs of our brother and sister, we need only think of our own (Matthew 7: 12).
Taking an interest in the needs of the saints
Just like us, our brothers and sisters need
- Love and care. Let us prove our love to them by sharing both their joys and sorrows. Our neighbour needs just as much care for his soul as we do. Let us not take up all of the ministers’ time by insisting that our cross is heavier than that of our neighbour.
- We expect our brother and sister to forgive us and not keep bringing up our failures. Let us do the same for them.
- Inner peace and composure. Tensions and conflicts within the congregation prevent us from enjoying the divine service and finding deep peace. The same also holds true for others. Let us therefore make the effort to resolve conflicts as quickly as possible. Let us be aware of our responsibility toward God and our neighbour. Telling the whole world about our conflicts—or publishing them on the Internet, for example—will only serve to deepen them.
Hospitality consists of sharing what we have with strangers. A stranger is someone who comes from another place and who may be different from us in various ways.
- Let us not forget that we are all strangers. None of us can claim to exhibit the holiness and perfection required in order to enter into the kingdom of God of the present. The only reason we were able to enter there was because God granted us grace.
- Paul called upon the Jewish Christians to accept the fact that the Gentiles had the same access to salvation as they did, even though they never had to live under the yoke of the Mosaic Law. Let us not expect the younger generation to have to tolerate the same constraints we did, nor expect our neighbour to have to endure exactly the same trials we may have had to experience. Let us simply accept that the souls who are only being sealed today will not have to wait as long as we before they can enter their heavenly home. Let us simply trust in the righteousness of God!
- Acceptance of the stranger makes it possible for us to concentrate on that which is essential: faith, love, and hope. Our habits and preferences, or the manner in which we practice charity, are not decisive for salvation. Let us not take offence if our brother does not share them.
* Thoughts from the Chief Apostle adapted for divine service held on Sunday, 11 September 2016 at Midrand Congregation.