In Remember the Poor: How the Earliest Christians Cared for the Needy, A Tool for Making the Case for Mercy in Your Congregation, author Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, president of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, takes the example of St. Paul and applies it to today’s church.
When Christians were suffering from a famine in Jerusalem, St. Paul took up a collection to support them.
For St. Paul, “demonstrating mercy as a corporate, churchly act was serious business that took up much of his Christian life,” Harrison writes in the study’s Foreword. “It was deeply intertwined with his view of the Gospel and of the church’s mission.”
Knowing about Paul’s “great collection,” he writes, “is vital for anyone who actually desires to get something ‘real’ done in the church on behalf of Christ. From fund development, to personnel, to government regulations and internal power struggles, St. Paul dealt with it all. And by God’s grace, he found a way to assist the needy in all of it.
“That’s comforting and encouraging. Where the mercy of Christ in the Gospel provides the heartbeat, there is a way to get it done. ‘Let’s go’ (Mark 1:38).”
Originally published by LCMS World Relief and Human Care in 2007, Remember the Poor was released May 1 by Concordia Publishing House (CPH) as both a book for individuals and a Bible study for groups.
Newly added study questions are designed “to guide discussions in which [participants] evaluate the ways their congregation reaches out to needs beyond their community,” notes the Rev. Wayne H. Palmer, editor of Bibles and Bible Resources for CPH.
“But we also want individuals to know they can read it as a book, gain a deeper understanding of St. Paul’s heart and consider ways they can individually respond to disasters within the Synod — and help encourage their congregations to do so.”
To order ($6.99, item no. 124567), call 800-325-3040 or visit cph.org/rememberthepoor.
Posted May 23, 2018